Use this Judges children’s Sunday School lesson to tell kids the story of Gideon and God’s power.
Needed: a die for each child, a spray bottle with water, a napkin or paper towel
Intro Game: What are the Odds?
Make a grid on the floor with six rows across and as many columns as you have students. Have the students line up at one side of the grid, each in front of one column. They take turns rolling a die. The winner is the first student to roll 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 in a row.
Students do not move forward until they roll the next number in their sequence.
Play again to give someone else a chance to win.
Ask, Was it difficult to get the number you wanted? (Show students that the chances of getting their number were 1:6 every time.)
Last time, we started learning about the Judge, Gideon. When the Israelites sinned against God and started worshiping fake gods, God let the Midianites come and conquer Israel for seven years. Then, when the Israelites started praying to God again, God sent an angel to go tell a man named Gideon that he was supposed to lead the Israelites in battle against the Midianites. Gideon was afraid, but God told him that He would be with him and would help him win the battle. Then, Gideon broke down all of his father’s statues to the fake gods and built a place for worshipping the real God.
(Summarize Judges 6: 33-7:25 with the following story, asking the included questions as you read.)
Then, Gideon blew a trumpet to call all the Israelites to himself so that he could start gathering his army. That night, Gideon took a piece of sheep’s wool and put it on the ground outside. He prayed to God and said, “God, if You will really help me defeat the Midianites, then please make this piece of sheep’s wool all wet but leave the rest of the ground dry.”
What do you think are the chances that the piece of sheep’s wool will be wet when the ground is dry? (We would normally expect the wool to be dry if the ground around it is dry.)
Spray some water on a table. Then, put a napkin or paper towel next to the water and watch the paper soak up the water. Explain that like the paper towel or napkin, the sheep’s wool would normally only be wet if the ground around it is wet.
Early the next morning, Gideon went out to check the sheep’s wool, and God did just what Gideon had prayed for Him to do. The piece of wool was wet, but the ground was dry! Then, Gideon said, “I’m sorry, God, but let me make just one more test. This time, could you make the ground wet, but the piece of wool dry?”
What do you think are the chances that the ground will be wet, but the piece of sheep’s wool will be dry? (We would normally expect the wool to be wet if the ground around it is wet.)
The next morning, the ground was wet, but the wool was completely dry.
Why do you think Gideon wanted God to make the piece of wool wet and dry? (Gideon was afraid to go fight the Midianites. He wanted to make sure it was really God telling him to go into battle and that God really would help him win.)
Why do you think God let Gideon test Him with the piece of wool? (God understood that Gideon was afraid and He wanted to help Gideon believe that He would help him.)
The next day, Gideon had 30,000 men in his army.
Do you think that’s a lot of men?
Do you think Gideon will have a good chance of defeating the Midianites with 30,000 men? (That sounds like a pretty big army, so I bet Gideon will have a good chance of defeating the Midianites.)
But God said, “Gideon, you have too many men in your army. Tell them that anyone who is afraid to go fight the Midianites can go home. They don’t have to fight in the battle.”
Why do you think God wanted some of the army men to go home? If the Israelites had a big army, doesn’t that mean they would have a better chance of winning the battle?
God said, “I don’t want you to take too big of an army with you, Gideon, because then, the people might start to think that they won the battle by themselves. I want you to take a small army so that everyone will know that you only won because I helped you.”
So, Gideon told everyone who was afraid, to go home, and 20,000 men left, leaving Gideon with only 10,000 men in his army.
Do you think Gideon has a good chance of defeating the Midianites if he only has 10,000 men? (Ten thousand is a lot of men, but it’s not as much as 30,000, so I would say that Gideon has a medium chance of defeating the Midianite army with 10,000 men.)
But God said, “Gideon, you still have too many in your army. I don’t want them to think that they won the battle by themselves. Take your army down to the river to get a drink.” After the men were done drinking, God said, “Gideon, some of the men scooped water out of the river with their hands to drink, but most of them kneeled down and stuck their face in the water to drink. I want you to send home everyone who stuck their face in the water to drink.”
Gideon sent all those men home, and he was left with only 300 men in his whole army.
Do you think Gideon has a good chance of defeating the Midianites with only 300 men in his army? (Three hundred men are not very many for an army, so I would say that Gideon has a low chance of defeating the Midianites.)
God said, “I will help you defeat the Midianites with these 300 men. Now, the Midianite army is camping down in the valley. I know you are still afraid to attack them, so take your servant, Puah, and sneak down into the camp. You will hear something in the Midianite camp that will make you feel braver.”
So. Gideon took his servant, Puah, and snuck down into the Midianite camp. When they reached the edge of the camp, they heard one of the Midianite guards telling his friend about a dream he had. “I saw a round loaf of bread come rolling down the mountain and smashing our whole camp,” the guard said.
“I bet that loaf of bread was supposed to be Gideon,” the other guard said. “God is going to help Gideon defeat our whole army.”
When Gideon heard the two guards talking like this, he bowed down and worshipped God. Then, he went back up the mountain to his army and said, “Get ready! God is going to help us defeat the Midianites.” And he gave every man a trumpet, an empty jar, and a torch.
In the middle of the night, Gideon’s whole army snuck up around the Midianite camp. And when Gideon gave the signal, they all blew their trumpets, smashed their jars, lit their torches, and yelled, “For God and for Gideon!”
The Midianites were so scared that they got up and started fighting each other because they couldn’t remember who was on their side and who wasn’t. A lot of the Midianites killed each other that way and then, the Israelites killed the rest of the Midianites who tried to escape the camp.
So, that’s how God helped Gideon defeat the whole Midianite army with only 300 men. His chances of defeating the Midianite army with only 300 men weren’t very good, but God showed him that God doesn’t care about chances. He can make a piece of wool wet or dry when the ground isn’t, and He can make an army win with only 300 men.
God can also do anything in our lives. If something seems difficult or that there’s a low chance of something happening, God can still do it because God can do anything.
Game: Sneak Attack!
This is a lot like the Sneak Smash game from the last lesson. You’ll divide the kids into two teams. One team will spread out in your play area and pretend to be the sleeping Midianites. With their eyes closed, they’ll listen for Gideon’s army (the other team) coming to sneak up on them. If they hear any movement, they raise the alarm and the Midianite army chases and tags Gideon’s army. Then, the two teams switch roles.
If Gideon’s army makes it to the center of the play area, they yell, and win the round. Then, the two teams switch roles.
Play as long as time permits.
God, we thank You that You can do anything, even when it seems like low chances. Help us to put our faith in You always. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
You can also find this lesson for Kindle or in print in my book, The Judges and Ruth Children Sunday School Lessons.