As students continue a study in Judges they will discover how Gideon responds to God’s call. They will learn that it is important to obey God and trust Him to help us do what He calls us to do. The lesson was prepared for older students and can be adapted for your needs.
Bible Passage: Judges 6-8
Bible Story Title: Gideon Responds to God’s Call
Target Age Group: Ages 9-11 (3rd-5th Grade U.S.A.)
Target Time Frame: 60 Minutes
Original Teaching Context: Sunday School
Image Credits: Sweet Publishing and Distant Shores Media
Supply List: Bibles, activity pages, pens/pencils
Learning Goal: Students will learn the importance to obey God and trust Him to empower them to fulfill the work He gives them to do.
Learning Activity #1: Gideon activity pages
Bible Lesson: Gideon Responds to God’s Call
(Begin with prayer)
Review question and answer from last week: What is the goal or purpose of God’s plan? (God’s goal is to show His glory.)
Last week our lesson was about Deborah. Can anyone remember who she asked to defeat the enemies of Israel? (Barak) Barak was only willing to go to battle if Deborah would go with him. Because he wanted Deborah to go to battle with him the honor of defeating Sisera (commander of the enemy’s army) would go to a woman (Jael).
Today our question is how should we respond to God’s calling?
We should obey God and trust Him to help us.
Review the ABC’s of Judges (A-abandoned God, B-bondage to enemies, C-cried out to God, D-delivered by God, E-ease in the land)
Turn to Judges 6. Let’s read 6:1-2. Which of the ABC’s do you see? (A-God’s people abandoned Him by doing evil in His eyes and B-God punishing His people by allowing the Midianites to rule over them-bondage)
For seven years the Midianites made things very difficult for God’s people. God’s people hid in caves. When they planted crops for food to eat, the Midianites would come in and destroy the crops and kill their sheep, cattle and donkeys. The Midianites were so numerous that they looked like swarms of locusts in the land.
The Israelites were so hungry and poor that they cried out to God. God heard His peoples’ cries and sent them a prophet with His message to them. Let’s read what God’s message through the prophet was in Judges 6:8-10.
Despite the Israelites continued disobedience to God, He was faithful to His promise to Abraham that out of his descendants the Savior would be born. Each time God’s people sinned and turned back to Him, He delivered them from their enemies.
- When we see this continuous cycle of God’s people it is a reminder to us that by ourselves we are incapable to do what pleases God. We are all sinners. None of us is righteous before God. (Romans 3:10-23) It is only through faith in Jesus Christ that we can be rescued from the bondage of sin and delivered from the punishment of eternal separation from God.
God calls Gideon to deliver His people. (Judges 6:11-32)
A man named Gideon was threshing wheat in a wine press to keep it from being taken away by the Midianites. While he was threshing his wheat a visitor came and sat under the oak tree near the winepress. Let’s read about Gideon’s visitor in 6:11-12. This visitor is called the angel of the LORD. In the Old Testament this reference of the angel of the LORD is referring to Jesus before He was born as a baby in Bethlehem.
What words of encouragement did the angel of the LORD speak to Gideon? (The LORD is with you, mighty warrior)
Gideon is somewhat confused with this greeting. He responds by saying if the LORD is with us, then why are they facing such difficult times? Read verse 13.
It is interesting that Gideon’s perspective is that God abandoned His people. Actually the reverse was true. God’s people had abandoned Him and they were being punished for their disobedience.
The Lord calls Gideon and tells him that he will be the one who rescues the Israelites from the Midianites. (Judges 6:14)
(Judges 6:15)Gideon’s response reveals his perspective about himself. How does he respond to God’s call? (How can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest… and I am the least in my family)
The LORD answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites together. (Verse 16)
The LORD told Gideon to go to his father’s house and destroy the altar to Baal and cut down the Asherah pole. These items were visual evidence that God’s people had abandoned Him and were worshiping false gods.
Gideon responded to the LORD’s command by obeying. He was afraid of his family and the people of the town so he went and destroyed the altar and pole at night and built a proper altar for the LORD.
(Judges 6:33-39) Gideon needs reassurance
Read 6:33-35. God had promised that He would be with Gideon. God’s Spirit came upon Gideon and he blew a trumpet that signaled fighting men to come to meet with him. Many men gathered to fight with Gideon.
Gideon wanted to be sure he was doing what God wanted him to do and asked for a sign. He asked if God would make the piece of wool wet with dew and the ground dry. God answered Gideon’s request and the piece of wool was wet and the ground was dry. Gideon still needing assurance that God would be with Him asked if God would do the opposite this time by allowing the wool to remain dry and the ground wet with dew. God answered Gideon’s request and the wool was dry and the ground wet.
(Judges 7-8) Gideon defeats Midianites
The next morning when Gideon woke up God told him that he had too many men in his army. Let’s read 7:2. God’s goal is always to show His glory. Why did he say that Gideon had too many men? (Israel would boast and say it was her own strength that saved her)
God told Gideon to send home all the men who were afraid. 22,000 men went home leaving only 10,000 men. That was a lot of men to lose from the army. God said there still too many men. God told Gideon to separate the men who drank at the river. Those who got on their knees and put their mouths in the water to drink would be separated from those who cupped their hands full of water and lapped like dogs. 300 men cupped their hands full of water. God told Gideon that he was to send the other group of men home.
Read 7:7-8. Who was going to save the Israelites from the Midianites (the LORD)?
During the night God told Gideon to go down against the Midianites because He was going to give them into his hands. He said, “If you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp and listen to what they are saying.”
Gideon and his servant quietly went down and overheard a conversation between two friends. One man dreamed that a round loaf of barley bread came rolling down over the hill and crashed into the tents and caused them to collapse. Let’s read the friend’s response in verse 14.
When Gideon heard the interpretation of the dream he worshiped God. He went back to the camp and told his 300 men to get up because the LORD has given the Midianites into their hands. He divided the 300 men into 3 groups of 100. He gave them each a trumpet and empty jars with torches inside.
Gideon led his 300 men out and told them to follow his instructions. When he and his men blew their trumpets then the other men were to blow theirs and shout, “For the LORD and for Gideon.”
When Gideon and his group of 100 men reached the edge of the Midianite camp they blew their trumpets and broke the jars. In their left hand they held the torches and in their right hand they held their trumpets. They blew their trumpets and shouted, “A sword for the LORD and for Gideon!”
The 300 men held their position and the Midianites ran crying out as they ran away. When all 300 trumpets sounded the LORD caused the Midianites to turn on each other with their swords.
Gideon and his army chased after those who ran away and defeated them. God called Gideon to deliver the Israelites from the Midianites. Even though his faith was weak and he needed assurances from God, Gideon trusted Him and allowed God to use Him to destroy Israel’s enemies.
After the battle was over the Israelites asked Gideon to rule over them. Let’s read his response in Judges 8:23. Gideon did not want to rule over the Israelites he knew that God was their only Ruler to lead them. Gideon was only an instrument for God to show His glory.
As we explored these chapters in Judges we saw God call Gideon to do His Work. Gideon felt inadequate to do God’s Work but he trusted God to help him. As a result God used Gideon to show His glory and defeat the Midianites.
When we become followers of Christ by putting our faith in Jesus God has called us to serve Him.
Here are a few verses from the New Testament (Choose volunteers to look up these verses):
John 15:16; Acts 9:15 (Why God chooses); 1 Corinthians 1:26-29 (Who and why-weak, foolish, lowly & despised; so no one can boast before God.)
When God chooses to use a person to do His work it is always to show His glory.
When God calls followers of Christ to serve Him we trust Him to enable us to do what He has asked through the power of His Holy Spirit who lives in our hearts.
As we prepare to pray let’s talk about how we can respond to what we have learned from God’s word. Maybe you are like Gideon and are uncertain that God could use you. If you are a follower of Christ you can do all thing through Christ who strengthens you (Philippians 4:13) If God is asking you to do something He will give you everything you need to do that work. If you are not a follower of Christ you are separated from Him and are His enemy (Colossians 1:21). You don’t have to stay in that condition. Jesus has come to the earth just as God promised and gave His life so that all who believe in Him can be forgiven of their sins and live for eternity with God. You can believe in Jesus today and be rescued from your sins. Whatever your need is as we close in prayer I will give you a few minutes of silence so you can talk to God about what’s on your heart.
Close in prayer.
- Who was making things difficult for the Israelites? A)Edomites, B)Moabites, C)Midianites (C)
- What was Gideon doing when a visitor appeared? A)Threshing wheat, B)Washing his clothes, C) Sleeping (A)
- What sign did Gideon ask for? A)Send a dove with an olive leaf, B) Sun to stand still, C)Wool wet with dew/ground dry (C)
- When did Gideon destroy the altar to Baal at his father’s house? A)Morning, B)Night, C)Never (B)
- How many men did God send with Gideon? A)300, B)22,000, C) 500 (A)
- What weapons did Gideon and his men take to attack the Midianites? A)Swords/shields, B)Trumpets/jars, C) Bow/arrows (B)