Use this Sunday School lesson on Gideon to tell kids the story of Gideon and God's power.
Lesson: (Note: Always allow students enough time to think about and answer the questions before clarifying the teaching.)
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, asking 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 res t of the ground dry.”
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?” And that’s what happened. 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 the battle.
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 thirty thousand men in his army.
Do you think that’s a lot of men?
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 twenty thousand men left, leaving Gideon with only ten thousand men in his army.
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 three hundred men in his whole army.
God said, “I will help you defeat the Midianites with these three hundred 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 more brave.”
So Gideon took his servant, Puah, and snuck down into the Midianite camp. When they got to 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 three hundred men.