When we think how big God is, our fears melt away as we trust God to answer
Materials You Need:
Make a copy of the pattern below on blue coloured paper.
Cover the torch with gold paper to make the torch flames.
Click here for Gideon's Army Pattern
The figure is folded to show Gideon's few soldiers. When they shouted,
the clay jars open up to show the burning torch, scaring the Midianite host
into running away!
The people of Israel were afraid again and ran to hide in their caves.
They peeped out, and there below them was the enemy, the Midianites, who had
once again had brought a great army into Israel. They did this every
year at harvest time so that they could steal all the crops, sheep, cattle
and donkeys. As a result, the people of Israel were poor and very
hungry. There were just too many of the Midianites, so God's people
couldn't protect themselves.
(Z-fold Figure 1 along the vertical dotted lines so that the army faces you
and cut out the figures while you talk. The picture is turned sideways
so the heads of the army are at the top). Finally the Israelites
could stand it no longer, so they cried out to God for help. God sent
them a leader named Gideon. But, what a leader! He was hiding in
a wine press when God spoke to him, hoping he could thresh his wheat without
being seen by the Midianites!
An angel came up to Gideon and said, "Hail, mighty warrior!" Gideon
thought, "Who me? No, you can't possibly mean me!" (Open one
fold to show the largest head while keeping the rest of the paper
God's Chosen Man?
But yes, he was the one that God had chosen. Gideon was very afraid just
like everyone else in Israel, but nevertheless God had chosen him to fight
the Midianites. Gideon nervously went out and gathered as many soldiers
as he could find. He did not mess about and landed up with an army of
32,000 men! "Cool," he said, "Lord this lot will surely wipe the floor
with the Midianites .... Come on, Lord, let's go!"
(Open up the Z-folds to show the entire army). "Not so fast,
Gideon," said God when He saw how many men Gideon had gathered. "What
do you mean, Lord," Gideon replied, "We need as many as possible to mow the
enemy down!" But God replied, "No, you have too many men. Tell
anyone who is afraid to go home."
All Cowards Leave!
"All right, Lord, if you say so," thought Gideon as 22,000 men waved goodbye to
him and scuttled off as fast as they could back into their caves. That
left only 10,000 men to fight the Midianites. Gideon thought, "Surely
the Lord will be satisfied with this tiny army!" (Fold back the two
outer sheets and display the reduced Army
God spoke to Gideon again, "You still have too many men. Take them to a
stream to get a drink of water and only keep only those men who lap up the
water like dogs. Send home anyone who kneels down to drink."
(Fold in the outer two sheets and display the now tiny Army, which is now
only two folds wide).
Keep only Lappers!
"Yes Lord, if you say so," said Gideon as he folded his arms in despair and
watched a few men lap the water like a dog! And so 9,700 men went home,
while only 300 stayed to fight the Midianites! "Gosh," thought Gideon,
"I thought my last army was tiny. But, this one? It's pitiful!"
Fortunately, Gideon was obedient and faithful to God. That night God sent
Gideon down to spy on the Midianite army. While he was creeping around
in the bushes, he suddenly heard some Midianites talking about how scared
they were of the Israelite army. That little old army of Gideon's?
(Open the two outer folds again. Cut out both halves of the jar but
leave a small piece on the sides to hold them in position on the figure.
Fold on the centre line and cut out the flames).
My Tiny Army!
(Fold back to show the tiny army again
). By now Gideon was sure
God would help him, so he began to prepare his men for battle. If you
were sending soldiers to war today, you would give them tanks, guns,
aeroplanes and bombs. But, what did Gideon do? Well, he rounded
up a bunch of torches, not those with batteries in, but just sticks wrapped
with rags and dipped in oil. You had to light them and carry around!
Even stranger, he sent men rushing round to gather up all the clay
jars that they could find!
His men stood there marvelling as Gideon counted them, "298, 299, ah, 300!"
Poor man, he's lost all his marbles this time! The Midianites
were going to die laughing! Anyway, Gideon called his men together and
gave each man a flaming torch and told them to hide it inside their jars.
(Fold the jar in front of the army, but keep the torch concealed
Armed with Torches and Trumpets!
Late that night Gideon led out his tiny army and said, "Go very quietly men
and surround the Midianite camp." That put a man every half kilometre
or so! "Hey Gideon, hallo there!" whispered one soldier, "It's rather
lonely out here!" But, then came Gideon's signal. All the
soldiers broke their jars, held up their flaming torches, blew their
trumpets, and yelled as loudly as they could, "A sword for the Lord and for
Gideon!" Children, why don't you try it with me: one, two, three, "A
sword for the Lord and for Gideon!"
(Tear off the two halves of the jar to reveal the torch). The
Midianites were caught by surprise, and were so terrified that they started
fighting and killing each other as they ran this way and that. "Out my
way!" they roared and scattered their equipment all over their camp in their
haste. The Israelites laughed and cheered and then chased them clean
across the border! That night Gideon won a great victory for the Lord
and broke the power of the Midianites. After this Midianites never
bothered Israel again.
When you feel afraid, remember what God could do with one man and his tiny army.
Our God is a big God and in 1 John 4:4, the Bible says:
"Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world"
God is bigger that all our problems and bigger than all our fears. Ask
God to help you. Then think about how big God really is - He fills this
gigantic Universe. In no time at all, your problems will seem smaller
and your fears will melt away as you begin to trust God, and His peace and
love will begin to fill your heart!
Be like Gideon, don't trust in huge armies, but trust in our wonderful God!