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Gideon's Army

Gideon and his army

Theme:

When we think how big God is, our fears melt away as we trust God to answer our prayers.

Materials You Need:

Scissors.
Glue stick.
Gold paper.
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

Effect:

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!

Text:

Judges 7:1-25.

 

Lesson:

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 folded).

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 behind it).

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.

Application:

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!

God bless.
 

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