Gideon Defeats the Midianites

To Remember: God provides all the proof we need to believe in Him

judge: (in lesson context) a leader God provided to free Israel from danger and keep the peace
sign: proof from God
Judges 6-8'Gideon thought the Lord had forgotten them. At that very moment he was secretly threshing grain down in the winepress instead of out in the open air where the Midianites could see him..." Read the full lesson Text
  • The Midianites stole all Israel's food, and were so dangerous the Israelites had to live in caves.
  • An angel appeared to Gideon and told him to destroy the false altar to Baal. The people were angry, but it proved to them that Baal was so helpless, he couldn't defend his own altar.
  • Gideon raised an army to free Israel. He asked God for signs that this was His will. The first sign was that a fleece left out overnight gathered dew, but the ground around it was dry. The next night he asked that the fleece be dry, and the ground dewy.
  • God had Gideon dismiss most of his army. He kept only 300 good soldiers (the men who lapped water from their hands rather than bent down to drink). God wanted everyone to know that He, not the army, had defeated the Midianites.
  • Gideon overheard a Midianite soldier explain a prophetic dream. This was another sign to Gideon that God was with them.
  • That night, Gideon gave each soldier a pitcher with a lamp (or torch) in it. They all took ram's horns (trumpets) and surrounded the camp. At one time, they broke the jugs, blew on the horns and shouted: "The sword of the Lord and Gideon!" The Midianites were so startled and confused, they fought each other, then ran.
Judge Enemy Scripture
Othniel (Caleb's nephew) 40 Canaanites & Mesopotamians Judges 1:11-13; 3:7-11
Ehud (used a dagger to kill Ehud) 80 Moabites (King Eglon) Judges 3:12-30
Shamgar (used an oxgoad to kill 600) ? Philistines Judges 3:31;5:6
Deborah (prophesied re: Barak and Jael) 40 King Jabin of Hazor Judges 4-5
Gideon (used 300 men with torches) 40 Mididanites Judges 6-8
Abimelech (Gideon's corrupt son) 3 (civil war in Israel) Judges 8:33-9:57
Tola (from tribe of Issachar) 23   Judges 10:1-2
Jair (had 30 sons and 30 towns) 22   Judges 10:3-5
Jephthah (promised his daughter's life) 6 Ammonites Judges 11:1-12:7
Ibzan (from Bethlehem) 7   Judges 12:8-10
Elon (from Zebulun) 10   Judges 12:11-12
Abdon (had 40 sons, 30 grandsons) 8   Judges 12:13-15
Samson (strong Nazarite) 40 Philistines Judges 13-16
Eli (high priest) ? Philistines 1 Samuel 1:1-4:1
Samuel (prophet and priest, anoints kings) ? Philistines 1 Samuel 4:1-7:17

Object Lesson:
bring a flashlight and an opaque container that it will fit in. Show how the sudden breaking of the jug and the appearance of the light would be frightening to the sleeping Midianties.

Object Lesson:
Before the lesson, place a bowl of water in front of each child. Begin telling the lesson. When you come to the part in the lesson when God tells Gideon to watch the men as they drink water from the river, have the children drink the water in front of them. Tell them to pretend that they are at the river getting a drink, so they can't pick up the bowl. After they start drinking, point out those children that would have been eliminated to go to war with Gideon and those who would have been chosen to go to war. Continue with lesson. (Thanks to Nancy Wright)

Gideon's Army Prepares for War

Discussion: Compare Barak's need for Deborah to Gideon's need for signs. God does not reprimand Gideon's requests, instead He fulfills them. What is the difference? Barak refused to trust in God's help, even though he was hearing God's will from a prophetess. Instead he put his trust in Deborah. Gideon wasn't questioning God's ability to save Israel. Gideon wanted to be certain that God was with him. Since God had withdrawn from Israel for a long time, it's not unusual that Gideon would want to be sure of God's will. God rewards those who strive to be sure they are truly pleasing to Him. He provides all the evidence we need to believe in Him. God never asks for blind faith, but for an obedient response to the truth when we hear it. Are we striving to know God's will?

Memory Work:  Judges 8:23  "And Gideon said unto them, I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you: the Lord shall rule over you."

"I'm in the Lord's army"

Review Questions
for gameboard  

linguistic questions

  1. What is a sign? proof of God's will
  2. What does a judge do? makes decisions between right and wrong
  3. Spell pitcher.

activity questions

  1. Act out blowing a ram's horn.
  2. Locate Midian's territory on a map.
  3. Draw a jug with a lamp inside.

 emotion questions

  1. What emotion led Gideon to ask God for signs? uncertainty, caution, some fear
  2. What emotion led the Midianites to fight each other? confusion, fear
  3. How did Israel feel after the Midianites were gone? happy, releived, loyal to Gideon and God

 application questions

  1. What signs has God offered us?   the resurrection of Christ, all the miracles of the Bible, recorded by witnesses
  2. Does God require blind faith from us? no
  3. How can we seek out God's true will? study the Bible, pray

fact questions

  1. After Deborah died, the people gradually turned to:  God, idols or Kings
  2. The Midianites made the Israelites: rulers, friends, slaves
  3. What did Gideon's army take with them into battle? horn and a lamp in a jug

review questions

  1. Why had God abandoned Israel? they worshipped dead objects instead of Him
  2. Why couldn't Baal defend his own altar? because he had no power
  3. Why didn't God allow all 32,000 men fight? because Israel would believe their numbers won the battle, not God
  4. Why was it better for a soldier to lap water from his hands than to bend over the river? he could still be on the look-out for the enemy