Title: God Calls Gideon
Scripture: Judges 6:1-35
Target Age Group: 3rd-5th grade
Main Point: God overcomes our weaknesses
Supplies: Pictures of Idols, post it notes, pencils
- Ask: Have you ever gone through something so difficult that you cried out to God to help you?
- Say: The last few weeks we’ve been talking about Israel conquering their enemies as they entered the Promised Land. God had been with them and fought for them, showing His power and might. But after Joshua died Israel didn’t have a strong leader so they stopped trying to drive the people out of the land. Instead, the lived among them and fell into idolatry. God punished them by allowing the Midianites to conquer Israel. After 7 years of oppression the people of Israel cried out to God to save them.
- Say: Our main point today is God overcomes our weaknesses. We’ll hear about a man named Gideon whom God called to help lead Israel to victory over the Midianites. Gideon wasn’t so sure he was the man for the job, but God would show him that He is bigger than our weaknesses!
Tell the Story
Ask: Have you ever had to do something you didn’t think you could do? Maybe your sports team was playing an undefeated team, or you had a really hard science test coming up. (Give kids time to answer.)
Say: We’ve all had times where we didn’t feel strong enough or good enough to do something, but God overcomes our weaknesses. In fact, often when we don’t feel strong enough to do something that’s when we rely on God the most!
Say: Today’s lesson is from the 7th book of the Bible. Does anyone know what book that is? Let’s say the first 6 books together. (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges) Great job! Our story is from Judges.
Tell the Story: Joshua was the leader of the Israelite people after Moses died. He led the people in victory against many of their enemies as they entered the Promised Land. God gave them victory! However, when Joshua died the people started to forget about God. In fact, they even stopped trying to drive out the people from the land as God had told them to. There was a group of people called Canaanites living there, and instead of driving them out the Israelites lived alongside them. The Canaanites worshipped false Gods.
Ask: Why do you think it was a bad idea for Israel to live with the Canaanites instead of driving them out of the land?
Tell the Story: Israel began worshipping false gods just like the Canaanites! They built altars to the fake gods Baal and Asherah, and rather than worshipping the one true God they bowed down to statues they had made with their own hands. Their idolatry was a sin that had to be punished. God allowed Israel to be conquered by their enemies, the Midianites. The Midianites destroyed Israel’s crops so there wasn’t enough food for everyone. After 7 years the people of Israel were so desperate that they cried out to God for help.
Ask: Do you think after all that time God still heard His people?
Say: You bet He did! God hadn’t forgotten about His people. God had used the oppression of the Midianites to bring Israel back to Him! Remember, God overcomes our weaknesses.
Tell the Story: The angel of the Lord appeared to a man named Gideon to give him a special message and task. The angel first said to him, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” Gideon questioned the angel saying…
Read Judges 6:13: “But sir, if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our fathers told us about?…But now the LORD has abandoned us and put us into the hand of Midian.”
Say: Gideon didn’t believe that God was truly with Israel. The angel answered saying, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”
Read Judges 6:15: “But Lord, how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”
Say: Gideon didn’t believe that God could use him since he was from a small family and he wasn’t very strong. But God overcomes our weaknesses, and if Gideon would obey God, he would see God’s power.
Tell the Story: The angel of the LORD said, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites together.”
Gideon had a hard time believing what God said was true so he asked for a sign. He prepared some food and brought it back to the LORD. Gideon placed the meat and bread on a rock, and the angel of the LORD touched it with the tip of his staff. Suddenly, flames erupted from the rock and consumed the food. Then the angel disappeared. Gideon knew that he had seen the LORD face to face!
Tell the Story: That night God spoke to Gideon again telling him to tear down the idols (or Asherah poles) and altars to Baal and build an altar to the one true God. Gideon was afraid of what the people would do to him if they found out, so he obeyed God but did it at night so no one would know. When morning came and the people saw their altars and Asherah poles cut down they were angry. Gideon was discovered and the people wanted to kill him! But Gideon’s father stood up for him saying, “If Baal is a real god, let him punish Gideon.” Of course, Baal was a fake god so nothing happened to Gideon.
Say: Gideon made excuses to God about his weaknesses, but God promised to be with him and give Israel victory over their enemies. God overcomes our weaknesses.
Say: Did you know that we’re a lot like Gideon? We have an enemy that is too strong for us to fight, and we need God’s help.
Ask: Does anyone know what our greatest enemy is? (Sin.)
Say: We can’t fight sin on our own. No way, we’re too weak! But thankfully God overcomes our weaknesses. God sent Jesus, His only Son, to come to earth, live a perfect life, and die a sacrificial death to pay the penalty for our sin. Now, whoever believes in Jesus is forgiven and made right with God. What wonderful news this is! God overcomes our weaknesses—our sin—so that we can live with Him for eternity! Let’s pray and thank God for this incredible truth.
Pray Dear God thank you for this lesson that reminds us of your power to overcome our weaknesses. We praise you for your faithfulness to us, even when we are unfaithful to you and follow after idols. Forgive us for when we have not loved you with our whole hearts and create in us clean hearts that want to worship only you! Amen.
- What was the main point from our lesson? (God overcomes our weaknesses)
- Why had Israel been taken over by the Midianites? (They hadn’t driven our their enemies from the land and started worshipping false gods.)
- What excuse did Gideon give to God? (He was too weak to fight Israel’s enemies.)
- What was God’s promise? (He would be with Gideon and give Israel victory.)
- What did God tell Gideon to do? (Tear down the altars and Asherah poles and build an altar to God)
- What’s one thing you learned about God from this story?
Learning Activity : Practicing Spiritual Disciplines
Supplies: Attached Pictures
- Show the kids the pictures of things that could become idols (money, video games, applause, etc.)
- Ask: What do all these things have in common? (Write their answers on the board—guide them to see that these idols are created things, things we can see or experience, etc.)
- Say: It’s easy to desire these things because we can see them or readily experience them. Experiencing God’s presence and His blessing isn’t always easy. We can’t see God face to face (not yet anyway) but we can see the video games right in front of us. So when given a choice between spending time with God or playing games, most people choose the games. But that’s how things like video games become idols.
- Ask: What are some ways we can guard our hearts against idolatry?
- Ask: Who knows what the word “discipline” means?
- Say: We usually think of discipline as punishment, but discipline is also used to mean some activity or experience that provides physical or mental training. You might hear people talking about “spiritual disciplines” such as praying, meditating, memorizing scripture, and listening to God.
- Say: One way to protect our hearts from creating idols is to practice these spiritual disciplines. This week I encourage you to set aside a few minutes each day to spend with God. Pray, read your Bible, and spend time listening for God to speak to you.
Learning Activity: Relying on God
Supplies: Post it notes, pencils
- Pass out post it notes and pencils.
- Ask: What is one thing that you have to do that you need to rely on God for?
- Write “God overcomes our weaknesses” on the board.
- Have the kids write their answers on their post it notes. When they are finished they can come up and stick them to the board. If the kids are comfortable, they can share their answers with the class.
- Spend a few minutes praying—ask God to strengthen the kids this week and remind them that He overcomes our weaknesses.