Hiding in Caves:
The people of Israel were afraid again and ran to hide in their caves.
They peeped out and there below was the great army of Midianites
who had come to steal all their crops, sheep and donkeys. As a
result, the people of Israel were poor and very hungry. There were
too many Midianites, and God's people couldn't protect themselves!
Finally the Israelites could stand it no longer and cried out to God for
help. God answered by sending them a leader named Gideon. But,
what a leader! He was hiding in a wine press hoping he could thresh
his wheat without being seen by the Midianites!
God's Chosen Man?
An angel came to Gideon and said, "Hail, mighty warrior!" Gideon
thought, "Who me? No, you can't possibly mean me!" But yes,
even though he was afraid like everyone else, 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!
Do you think that was a big army? (Let the children
And Gideon said,"Cool, Lord with this lot I will surely wipe the floor
with those Midianites .... Come on, Lord, let's go!"
"Not so fast, Gideon," said God when He saw how many men Gideon had
gathered. "What do you mean, Lord?" answered Gideon, "We need as
many as possible to mow the enemy down!" But God replied, "No, you
have too many men, so tell anyone who is afraid to go home!"
"All right, Lord, if you say so," said Gideon as 22,000 men waved goodbye
and scuttled off as fast as they could back to their caves. That
left only 10,000 men to fight the Midianites.
Do you think that was enough men? (Let the children respond).
Well, Gideon said, "Surely the Lord will be satisfied with this
But no, God spoke to Gideon again, "You still have too many men.
Take them to a stream for a drink of water and only keep those men who
lap up water like dogs! Send home anyone who kneels down to drink."
Gideon's heart sank as he thought, "Oh no, not again, Lord!" However,
Gideon was obedient and said, "Yes Lord, if you say so." He folded
his arms in despair and watched a few men lap the water like a dog, while
9,700 men went home, and only 300 stayed to fight the Midianites!
"Gosh," exclaimed Gideon, "I thought my last army was small, but this one?
It's pitifully tiny!" Was this enough soldiers to fight the
thousands of Midianites? (Let the children respond).
Spying out the Enemy:
Anyway, that night God sent Gideon to spy on the Midianite army.
While he was creeping around in the bushes, he heard some Midianites
talking about how scared they were of the Israelite army.
"What?" thought Gideon, "Scared of that tiny army of mine?" Oh yes!
And now Gideon was sure that God would help him, so he began to
prepare his men for the battle.
Preparing the Army:
If you were sending soldiers to war today, wouldn't you give them tanks,
aeroplanes, guns and bombs? (Let the children respond
But what did Gideon do? Well, he just collected a bunch of torches!
No, not those with batteries, but just sticks wrapped with rags
and dipped in oil.
You had to set them on fire and then carry them around to shine some light!
Even stranger, Gideon sent his men rushing everywhere gathering
all the clay jars and trumpets they could find!
Armed with Torches and Trumpets!
His men stood there marvelling as Gideon counted them, "298, 299, and yes,
300!" Poor man! He had lost all his marbles this time!
The Midianites were going to die laughing at this tiny army! Anyway,
late that night, Gideon called his men together and gave each one a
flaming torch and told them to hide it inside their jar.
He led out his army, saying, "Go very quietly men and surround the Midianite
camp." That put a man every 200 metres or so! "Hey Gideon,
hallo there!" whispered one soldier, "It's rather lonely out here!"
A Great Victory!
But just then Gideon's signal came! All the soldiers blew their
trumpets, broke their clay jars and held up their flaming torches!
They moved forward and yelled, "A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!"
Children, why don't you try it? Come on, one, two, three,
"A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!" (Let the children
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 as they scattered their equipment in
their haste to run and get away.
The Israelites laughed and cheered and then chased them clean out of the
country! 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 did with one man and his tiny
army. Our God is a big God and He is bigger than all our fears.
Ask Jesus to help you be brave, and then think how big God really
is - He's bigger than the world, the sun and even the universe!
In no time at all, your fears will begin to go as you begin to trust God,
and His peace and love will fill your heart! Be like Gideon, you
don't need to trust in huge armies, but trust in our wonderful God!