Summary of Workshops:
- ART - Learn the acronym F.R.O.G.: "Fully Relying on God." Make a frog to take home to help students remember what they learned (Grades K-2).
- COOKING - Snack mix "Trumpet Treats" (K-3).
- GAMES - Students will set up dominoes and cause them to fall in sequence to demonstrate the importance of each person in God's Plan (Grades 4-6).
- MOVIE - "Webster, the Scaredy Spider,” part of the “Hermie and Friends” series by Max Lucado (3-6).
- STORYTELLING - Gideon's story
Don’t be afraid. I am with you. Don’t tremble with fear. I am your God. I will make you strong.” (Isaiah 41:10a, CEV)
What’s Going On Here?
After God worked through Moses to free the people of Israel from slavery in Egypt, and worked through Joshua to lead them into the Promised Land, one would think that the people would have been very appreciative and faithful to God. Unfortunately, that was not always the case. The book of Judges is filled with one story after another of the people being unfaithful to
God. God would then punish them through their enemies, Israel would repent, and God would deliver them. This story continues that pattern.
At this point in Israel’s history (about 1150 to 1050 B. C.), they are still a loose association of twelve tribes with God as their only common ruler. From time to time, as there became a need, God would raise up a person with the skills and respect needed to lead all of the people against their common foe. These temporary leaders are called “judges” in the Bible—and Gideon was one of the judges.
The people were being harassed by the Midianites, a neighboring people who would destroy the crops of the Israelites and consume it for themselves. The people became poor and even lived in caves (Judges 6:1-6). When the people cried to God for deliverance, God called Gideon to lead the battle. Gideon took some convincing (6:11-24) but finally consented. Even after the troops had rallied to Gideon’s side, though, Gideon still had some tests to double check that God would be with them (Judges 6:36-40).
What is the Story?
Gideon sent messengers throughout the land, and many young men came to fight the Midianites. God told Gideon, though, to send most of them home. God said, “The troops with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand. Israel would only take the credit away from me saying ‘My own hand has delivered me.’” First, anyone who was fearful was told to go home. Next, God told Gideon to bring the army to the river and watch how they drank the water. **Those who scooped water into their hands and then to their mouth were sent home, and only those who lapped the water like a dog were kept in the army (7:4-8).** This left only three hundred to confront a far more numerous Midianite force. Gideon divided the army into three units and equipped the men with trumpets and torches hidden in jars. At night they came at the enemy army from different directions. On a signal, every man blew their trumpet, broke their jar, and exposed their torch. The sudden noise and lights from all directions caused such a panic in the Midianite camp that they ended up largely killing each other (7:16-23). The people were in this way delivered from the Midianites. They were so grateful that they tried to get Gideon to be their king, but he declined saying, “I will not rule over you and my son will not rule over you. The Lord will rule over you” (8:23).
- Note** Because of the variations of this story between the translations, here are the scriptures quoted from two difference sources:
Judges 7:5-7 "So he brought the troops down to the water; and the Lord said to Gideon,'All those who lap the water with their tongues, as a dog laps, you shall put to one side; all those who kneel down to drink, putting their hands to their mouths, you shall put to the other side.' The number of those that lapped was three hundred, but all the rest of the troops knelt down to drink water. Then the Lord said to Gideon, 'With three hundred that lapped I will deliver you, and give the Midianites into you hand. Let all the others go to their homes.'" NRSV
Judges 7:5-7: "Gideon took the men down to the water, and the Lord told him, 'Separate everyone who laps up the water with his tongue like a dog, from everyone who gets down on his knees to drink.' There were three hundred men who scooped up water in their hands and lapped it; all the others got down on their knees to drink. The Lord said to Gideon, 'I will rescue you and give you victory over the Midianites with the three hundred men who lapped the water. Tell everyone else to go home.'" TEV
Why is this Story Important?
This story shows God working in the world to save and deliver his people when they call on him. The conquest is not by overwhelming force. In fact, God specifically turned down the use of overwhelming force in order to make it clear that it was God’s hand, not military might, that would save the people. Gideon, the hero of the story, chose not to take advantage of the opportunity for his own political gain, but gave the glory to God, encouraging the people to see God as the one who would truly be their ruler.
A less set from Augustana Lutheran Church
Saint James, Minnesota
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