Read about Gideon in Judges Chapters 6-8

Song for this Lesson:
I Will Trust and Not Be Afraid--Tune The Old Gray Mare

In our story God is sad because the children of Israel have not been following Him or walking in the right paths. They had forgotten God and so they were being bullied by the people of Midian. They would grow their crops, raise their animals for food for the winter, and then when they would be ready to put back all the food they had raised the Midianites would come and destroy their crops and their animals.  If only they would turn to God for help! Finally, they did and God heard them.

He sent a messenger, an angel, to tell Gideon that God was with him and the people and they shouldn't be afraid, but they must start obeying God again.  God told Gideon to destroy the altar to a false god called Baal and Gideon did. Some wanted to kill Gideon for this but his father Joash told them to let Baal defend himself.  Of course, Baal couldn't because he was not real and was just a man made figure carved out of stone.

Gideon asked for proof that God would be with him in the battle against Midian and God proved it by letting the dew fall only on a piece of fleece that Gideon layed on the ground over night. But Gideon asked for more proof.  He asked that the next night that the dew fall on the ground but that the fleece would be dry.  So God did that, too.

Then Gideon gathered the men together to fight Midian. There were 32,000.  But God said that he had too many men and they would believe that they had won the battle from their strength and might and mot believe that it was God that had done it.  First God told Gideon to tell those who were afraid to go home. Out of 32,000 men...22,000 went home because they were afraid. This left 10,000 men to fight the Midianites.

But God still was not satisfied.  He told Gideon that there were still too many men and they would still believe that they were the ones that did it when they He told Gideon to tell the 10,000 men to get a drink out of the spring and those who got down on their knees to drink he was to send home and those who drank using one hand and lapped the water like a dog would be the ones he should take.   Only 300 lapped the water using one hand so Gideon sent all but the 300 home.

But God knew that Gideon was scared and needed to be given courage. God gave him courage by telling him to go and eavesdrop in the camp of the Midianites, Amalekites, and people of the East who were camped in the valley. There Gideon heard one man tell another about a dream where a piece of barley came tumbling into the tent of the Midianites and toppled it over.
The other man said that that piece of barley was none other than the sword of Gideon, the son of Joash and man of Israel and that God was going to give Midian into Gideon's hands.

After hearing that Gideon was not afraid any more and he obeyed God.  He gave each of the men  a trumpet, a clay jar or pitcher with a torch inside each pitcher. He then divided them into 3 companies and told them to do what he did.  He took his company of 100 men and when they had reached the edges of the camp and had surrounded the Midianites he and his men blew the trumpets holding them in their right hand and  broke their pitchers and held their torches up with their left hand, yelling "The sword for the Lord and Gideon!"

The Midianites thought that with that many torches, that much noise, and all those trumpets there was surely a mighty army out there surrounding them and in their panic (fright) the Midianites fought with each other as they tried to escape and fled.  The Israelites followed them and won the victory through God.

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