Gideon’s Thankful Faith
Use this children’s Sunday School lesson to teach children about the Judge Gideon and why we should always thank God for His promises.
Needed: soft ball, building blocks or cushions
Intro Game: The Moraboofus – This is a game to help kids see why it’s silly to be afraid of certain things. You’ll give kids a series of tasks that they have to add to one another until it’s impossible to do them all. Tell them that if they don’t complete this task, the Moraboofus will come.
For the task, they add each of these steps onto the next:
First, have children touch their nose.
Then, have them stand on one foot.
Then, have them put both arms straight up.
Then, have them bend over and touch their toes that are on the ground.
If they can do that, have them hop on one foot while bending over and touching their toes.
When none of them can do it, say that the Moraboofus is coming. Wait a few seconds, and say, Oh, I guess it’s not coming. We didn’t have to be afraid of that, after all! We get afraid of a lot of things that don’t ever happen. Some things, like the Moraboofus, don’t even exist, so we shouldn’t be afraid of them!
Lesson: Ask students, Have you ever thanked someone for doing something for you?
Who did you thank and why?
(You should also tell about someone you thanked.)
Today, we’re going to talk about a man who thanked God. What are some things that you can thank God for?
What are some ways that You can thank God besides saying it?
(Summarize Judges 6:1-32 with the following story, asking the included questions as you read.)
The people of Israel sinned against God again.
How does it make God feel when we sin and do things that are wrong? (It makes God feel sad and angry when we do wrong things.)
So, because the Israelites sinned against God, God punished the Israelites by letting the Midianites conquer them for seven years. The Midianites stole all of the Israelites’ food and took over all their houses so that the Israelites had to go live in caves. The Israelites were so upset about everything that the Midianites were doing to them that they cried out and asked God for help.
Then, God sent the Israelites a prophet and God told the prophet to say, “I am the one who brought you up out Egypt where you were slaves. I am the one who saved you from all your enemies and gave you this country of Israel. I told you that you were supposed to worship Me and not any of the fake gods, but you have not listened to Me. You have sinned and done what is wrong.”
Then, God sent His angel to talk to a man named Gideon. Gideon was out in his field, and the angel said, “God is with you, mighty warrior.”
But Gideon said, “Excuse me, but if God is with us, then why has He let Midian do all this bad stuff to us? Why doesn’t God help us like He did when He brought our grandparents out of Egypt?”
The angel said to Gideon, “Go fight the Midianites. God is sending you to do it.”
What would you do if God told you to go fight the Midianites?
Would you be afraid to go fight the Midianites?
Gideon said, “I can’t go fight the Midianites. I’m not strong enough.”
Then, the angel said, “God will be with you and will help you. He will make it so that you will win the battle.”
Did you know that God can help us do anything? We might not feel like we’re good enough or strong enough to do something, but if God is with us, then He can help us do anything.
Then, Gideon said, “I want to be sure that this is really an angel of God talking to me. Stay here until I come back and bring you an offering.”
Why did Gideon want to give the angel an offering? (Gideon wanted to give an offering to the angel to thank God. When God promises us something or when God does something for us, we should always remember to thank Him for it.)
“I’ll stay here and wait for you,” the angel said.
Then, Gideon ran to his house and made some food for the angel. He brought it back and set the food down on a rock. Then, the angel touched the food with his staff and made fire come out of the rock and burn up all the food. Then, the angel disappeared, and Gideon knew that it really was an angel who had been talking to him.
Gideon’s own father was one of the Israelites who was sinning against God and worshipping fake gods. That night, God told Gideon to go break down his father’s statues of the fake gods and to build a place for worshipping the real God.
Gideon was afraid to do it when everyone would see him, so he went at night and broke his father’s statues to the fake gods and built a place for worshipping the real God. In the morning, everyone woke up and saw what Gideon had done.
They knew it was Gideon and they were about to kill him, but his father said, “Wait! Gideon broke the statues of the fake gods. Let the fake gods punish him if they can. If they can’t, then we’ll know that they’re not real. Then, all the people agreed and decided to wait to see if the fake gods would punish Gideon for breaking down their statues.
Do you think the fake gods will punish Gideon for breaking down their statues? (No, the fake gods can’t punish Gideon because they’re not real. They don’t exist, just like the Moraboofus doesn’t exist. Fake gods can’t do anything if they’re not real.)
So, remember, 1) God can help us do anything, 2) we should always thank God when He does something for us, and 3) God is the only real God. There are no other gods.
We’ll learn next week about how God helped Gideon win the battle against the Midianites.
But let’s go back to Gideon bringing the angel an offering to thank God. What was Gideon thanking God for? (He was thanking God for promising to help him defeat the Midianites.)
How could Gideon thank God for something that God hadn’t done yet? Shouldn’t Gideon have waited until after God helped him to thank Him?
We can thank God for things He says He’s going to do because we know He’ll do it. God always keeps His promises. When Gideon thanked God, he was showing his faith that he believed God would do what He said.
We can thank God ahead of time, too, to show our faith. What are some things God has said He will do but hasn’t done yet? (God said He would Jesus back to get us, that He would raise us from the dead, that He would make a new world, etc.)
We can thank God for those things because we have faith that He will do them.
Game: Thanks Toss – Students stand in a circle and randomly toss a ball back and forth. Whenever someone catches the ball, they have to name one thing they’re thankful for, but it can’t be anything anyone else has said.
Game: Sneak Smash – Divide kids into two teams. One team will spread out around the playing area with a stack of blocks or cushions in the middle. They’ll close their eyes and pretend to be the sleeping villagers. The other team will pretend to be Gideon coming up to smash the statues of the fake gods at night. If the “sleeping” team hears them, they stop and switch roles.
Play as long as time permits. The team who successfully smashes the tower the most times wins.
Closing Prayer: Father, give us the faith to know that You’ll do what You promise, just like Gideon knew that You would help him when You said You would. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
Superbook: Gideon – an animated video from the updated Superbook series, includes time-traveling children who learn lessons from the story
Gideon part 1, - free coloring and activity pages
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.)
Lesson: 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.)
Demonstration: 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.
Closing Prayer: 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.
Gideon part 2 - free coloring and activity pages