Gideon's Story Script
I adapted Augustana's story script so I could tell it in the third person.
I also added an element of IMPROV. (idea adapted from a lesson by Neil MacQueen)
The kids don't speak, they just act out the key words bolded in the script as they hear them.
For example, in the first paragraph, when I say, "counting" the kids do that. If you have a lot of kids, you can assign roles. I pause my narration for them to do it, then continue on. This form of storytelling creates a sense of anticipation and promotes careful listening.
The first time around they are figuring it out. Read the story a SECOND TIME, and see how fast they can hit their cues to act out the key ideas.
I've BOLDED the key idea in the script which could be acted out.
Hello, boys and girls. I’d like to tell you a story about a man named Gideon. It is an important story that happened a long time ago. The story is so important that it is written in the OLD TESTAMENT book of Judges. That is in the Bible--maybe we could look it up. The first books of the Old Testament are Genesis starting with Creation, Exodus with Moses, Leviticus with its laws, Numbers with the counting of the tribes, Deuteronomy a speech by Moses, Joshua leading the battle of Jericho, and--there it is--Judges chapters 6-8.
Now when you hear the word “Judges” you probably think about people that work in courtrooms and decide whether or not someone broke the law, and how to punish them if they did. In ancient Israel, though, the “judges” were very different. You see, back then they didn’t have any king or president, or any other human in charge of the country. The Israelites were God’s people, and they wanted God to be their king. God told us in the First Commandment, “You shall have no other gods!.” Once in a while, though, you still need someone on earth to lead people and get them organized. That’s kind of what the Judges in the Bible were—people that were respected enough that others would follow them, so God could work through them at a time of trouble.
At the time that Gideon lived in the land of Israel there definitely was some trouble! The Israelites had some neighbors that became very bad enemies. They might have been called terrorists or gangs today but back then, 3500 years ago they were called Midianites. Groups of Midianites would come at night and steal their food, cattle, and even their tents! This had been going on for about seven years. The people became so poor that they were living in caves, and were very hungry. The whole country was crying to GOD to save them.
At that time, Gideon was a farmer, and one day as he was out in the fields cutting his wheat something very surprising happened. He was trying to hurry to get the wheat harvested before the Midianites could steal it. Suddenly, Gideon felt as though someone was near him, and as he looked around, there was an Angel of the Lord! The angel said, “The Lord is with you Mighty warrior.” He looked around to see if there was someone else that he might have been talking to. Gideon didn’t consider himself to be a mighty warrior. He was a farmer! Since no one else was around, though, he figured he must have been speaking to Gideon. So, he replied, “If God is with me why are all these bad things happening to God’s people?” I suppose that wasn’t a very polite thing to say to an angel, but that’s the way that Gideon felt!
The angel said that God wanted Gideon to use the strength that he had, in order to save Israel. Gideon questioned him, “But how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest one in the area, and everyone else in my family is more important than I am.” “Gideon,” the angel said, “you can rescue Israel because God is going to help you! Defeating the Midianites will be as easy as roughing up one man.”
By this time Gideon was beginning to think that he was imagining this whole conversation. He told the angel to stay there while he went to bring an offering. The angel said he would wait. Gideon went and killed his best goat, and brought the meat, along with some broth and some bread to the place where he had seen the angel. The angel was still there! He told Gideon to put the meat and bread and broth on a stone nearby. As GideonI stepped away, he touched the things with a stick, and they burst into flame! It was then that Gideon knew he was not imagining things! He really was in the presence of one of God’s angels! He was very afraid and thought that the angel was going to kill him. The angel said, though, “Calm down! There’s nothing to be afraid of. You are not going to die. God wants you to lead his people!”
That night, God spoke to Gideon again. The first thing that God asked him to do was to obey the first commandment.(What was that commandment?)
Gideon knew that his family wasn’t very good about that. They had many idols—statues and poles, and other things that they thought were gods and brought them good luck. God wanted him to destroy them all, so that people would put all their trust in him as the only true God. When Gideon destroyed those things, though, his family and the whole village turned against him. In fact the crowds wanted to put him to death. He told them, though, that if those gods were real they should be able to defend themselves—and nothing had happened to him.
Pretty soon all of their enemies—the Midianites and some of their evil friends--joined together and prepared to attack the Israelites. They camped out in the Jezreel Valley, which was part of the land of Israel! As far as the eye could see there were enemy soldiers! It seemed pretty clear that they intended to invade the whole country and make the Israelites be their slaves.
Gideon knew that God wanted him to lead the people of Israel against them, but he was pretty frightened. He had to be sure that God was really going to help him so he decided to put God to the test. Gideon told God that he would put a piece of wooly fleece from his lambs on the ground at night. If, in the morning, the fleece was wet from dew but the rest of the ground was dry, that would help him to believe. Well, what do you think happened? (Let the children answer) That’s right! The next morning the fleece was wet—so wet he could squeeze a whole bowl of water out of it--and the ground was dry. Still, though, he wasn’t sure. He wanted one more test. Gideon told God that he would put some fleece out again. This time, if the fleece was dry and the ground around it was wet the next morning then he would know that God was really helping him. That was exactly what happened. And he became a real believer.
If you needed to get the attention of a lot of people, and get information out to them, how would you do that now? (Let children suggest answers—maybe yelling, using the internet, or putting information on TV).
Those are all good ideas, but in Gideon's day, the best way to get attention seemed to be playing a trumpet real loudly. So, he blew a trumpet real loudly, calling his family and all Israel to come and fight for their country. He was very pleased with how many people came. He thought that they were sick and tired of putting up with the attacks of the Midianites, and were ready to fight against them.
The Lord told him, though, that he had too many soldiers! He said that when they won the battle they would think it was because their army was so great--not because God was helping us. God told Gideon to announce that if anyone was afraid, they could go home. Do you think anyone went home?
22,000 men went home, and we were left with only 10,000 soldiers. Still the Lord said that was too many. God told Gideon, “Take them down to the spring and I’ll test them. I’ll tell you which ones can go along with you and which ones must go back home.”
When they got to the water, God said, “Notice how each man gets a drink.” Some put their face down to the water and lapped it up like a dog does. Only three hundred cupped their hands and brought the water to their face to drink. God told Gideon, “Gideon, your army will be made up of everyone who drank the water from their hands. Send the others home. I’m going to rescue Israel by helping you and your army of 300 to defeat all the Midianites.”
It was hard to imagine that the Israelites could defeat the huge army of Midianites with only 300 soldiers, but that’s what God had promised. Gideon told those who were going to head home to leave their trumpets and their food and other provisions behind.
That night, God told him that it was soon time to attack the Midianites. God must have known that Gideon was still pretty nervous because God said, “If you are still afraid, you and your servant Purah should sneak down to their camp. When you hear what the Midianites are saying, you’ll be brave enough to attack.”
The Midianites were still in the valley, and they had been watching all that was going on in the camp. Gideon and his servant went down, then, as God suggested, and snuck around the edges of their camp. They found out that their enemies were frightened of them. One of their leaders had had a dream that warned them that God was going to use the sword of Gideon to defeat the Midianites. When he heard that he bowed down and worshiped because he knew that God would give them victory.
Gideon divided the men into three groups with one hundred men each. Every soldier got a trumpet and a large clay jar with a burning torch inside. He told them that when they got to the enemy camp they should spread out and surround it. Then they should wait for a signal from him on his trumpet. When they heard the trumpet they should smash their pots, hold up their torches, blow their trumpets and shout, “Fight with your swords for the Lord and for Gideon!”
They snuck up to the outskirts of the enemy camp in the middle of the night, when most of the soldiers were sleeping hard. When he gave the signal, everyone blew their trumpets, broke their jars, held up their torches and shouted “Fight with your swords for the Lord and for Gideon.” The enemy soldiers woke up from their deep sleep surprised and scared by all the noise. They saw the torches all around them, and heard all the trumpets and shouting and thought that they were being attacked by an army of many thousands of soldiers. They were so frightened that they picked up their swords and started swinging, killing mostly each other! Others started running away and the Israelites chased them all the way to the Jordan River.
All Israel was happy and wanted Gideon to rule over them. Gideon knew he could never rule over them and told them that God would continue to rule over them, and lead them with his love.
That is the story Boys and Girls. I hope that you too will believe God and follow in God’s ways, because he has a wonderful plan for your life.