Fear

Gideon- Judges 6-7

Theme: God is always with you and will help you.

Verse: Joshua 1:9- “The Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Introduction:

          When the Israelites went into the Promised Land, they conquered the evil people living there who worshiped idols and false gods. Unfortunately, some of the Israelites began worshiping those false gods too. God was angry with them, so God sent the Midianites to torment His people for seven years.

          What did the Midianites do?

  • They ruined their crops.
  • They took all their food so they had nothing to eat.
  • They stole their sheep, oxen, and donkeys.
  • They arrived on camels too many to count and stayed until the land was completely stripped and ruined.
  • The Israelites were in extreme poverty. Some lived in caves and dens.

          Even then, God did not forsake His people. He had a plan to help.

Story:

          Gideon crouched, hoping his head could not be seen above the winepress in the ground.

          He was not pressing grapes for wine. No, he was threshing the little bit of wheat he had gathered.

          He did not want the Midianites to see him, or they would steal this too. His family needed this food.

          Suddenly he noticed a man sitting under an oak tree.

          His heart pounded. This did not look like a Midianite. Who was he and what did he want?

          The man said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”

          Gideon looked around. Who was he talking to? No one else was here. He must be talking to him.

          He was not a mighty warrior. The Lord was not with him.

          “Please, sir, if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are the miracles our ancestors told us about, like God bringing them out of Egypt? No, the Lord has abandoned us and let the Midianites ruin us.”

          The man said, “I will make you strong. Go and save Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you.”

          Gideon gulped. “Me? Sir, how can I save Israel? My family is the weakest in the tribe of Manasseh, and I am the youngest in my father’s house.”

          “But I, Jehovah, will be with you. You will quickly destroy the Midianites.”

          This was crazy. Gideon couldn’t do it. But what if this was really the Lord God speaking? He needed proof.

          “If it’s really true that Jehovah will help me, then prove it. Stay here while I get a gift for you.”

          “All right,” the man said.

          Gideon hurried home and cooked a young goat and baked some unleavened bread. Carrying the meat in a basket and broth in a pot, he took it to the man who was still beneath the oak tree.

          The man said, “Place the meat and bread upon that rock and pour the broth over it.”

          Gideon did as he said.

          When the man touched the meat and bread with his staff, fire flamed up from the rock and devoured it. Then the man vanished right before his eyes.

          Gideon built an altar to God right there and named it The Altar of Peace with Jehovah.

          When he went home that night, he couldn’t stop thinking about what had happened. Why would God choose him? He was a nobody. A scaredy cat. There was no way he could save Israel from the mighty Midianites.

          But what had the angel said? That God would be with him? What did that mean?

          That night the Lord spoke to him again and told him to destroy the family altar of Baal and the wooden pole of the goddess Asherah nearby.

          When it was dark, he took ten servants and his father’s young ox and another that was seven years old and snuck up the hill.

          He hoped no one saw them, for his father’s household and the men of the city would be furious with him for destroying their gods.

          They tied a rope around the ugly wooden god of Baal and attached it to the ox. The ox pulled and pulled, and the god crashed down. They did the same to the Asherah pole.

          In the same spot, he built an altar to God and laid the wood from the Asherah pole on top of it. Then he sacrificed the seven-year-old ox as a burnt offering.

          They snuck back home.

          Early the next morning someone ran down the hill shouting, “The altars of Baal and Asherah are gone!”

          Gideon cringed. How soon until they discovered he did it?

          “And that’s not all,” the man said. “Someone built another altar in the same place with the remains of a sacrifice on it.”

          “Who did this?” the men shouted. “We’ll kill him!”

          Gideon stayed in the house.

          It wasn’t long before a mob pounded on the door. His father Joash answered it.

          “Bring out your son,” they demanded. “He must die for insulting the altar of Baal.”

          Gideon trembled. How had they found out? God, I need Your help. God had promised to be with him. He hoped God meant it.

          Would his father turn him over to them?


          “Does Baal need your help?” his father said. “If Baal is really a god, let him destroy the one who broke his altar.”

          So the men left Gideon alone.

          Soon after, things worsened with the Midianites. Thousands and thousands of Midianites, Amalekites, and Oedemites gathered in the Valley of Jezreel, planning an attack. Surely this was the end of the Israelites.

          But no, God had a plan, and He was going to use Gideon.

          The Bible says that the Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon. What did that feel like? We don’t know, except that Gideon suddenly took charge.

          He sent messengers throughout the land summoning the army, and they all came.

          But Gideon was still scared. He needed to make sure that God was really with him. He said to God, “If you are going to use me to save Israel, prove it. I will put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor tonight, and if the fleece is wet and the ground is dry in the morning, I will know You will help me.

          When he got up the next morning, it was exactly like that. He squeezed the fleece and filled a bowl with water.

          But Gideon was still scared. “Lord, please don’t be angry with me, but let me make one more test.”

          That night the fleece was dry, and the ground was wet with dew, just as he’d asked.

          Then Gideon knew God was with him. He was still scared, but he trusted God to help.

          He took his army of 32,000 men and headed out early in the morning.

          The Lord said to Gideon, “There are so many of you that Israel might brag they did it themselves. Send home anyone who is afraid.”

          So 22,000 went home, leaving only 10,000 to fight.

          The Lord said to Gideon, “There are still too many. Take them down to the water, and I will test them there.”

          So Gideon told them to drink from the creek. Some cupped their hands and drank, and some lapped it up like a dog.

          God sent home all the men who lapped it up like a dog. Only 300 men were left.

          300 men! How could they defeat that great army with only 300 men? Gideon was more scared than ever.

          During the night the Midianites camped in the valley below.

          The Lord said to Gideon, “Get up! Take your troops and attack, for I will cause you to defeat them. But if you are afraid, go down to the camp alone or take your servant Purah with you. Listen to what they are saying. You will be encouraged.”

          So Gideon took his servant with him. He couldn’t believe what he saw as he looked over the valley. The enemy was as many as the sand on the seashore, more camels than he could count.

          There was no way his 300 men could fight all these soldiers.

          They crept through the darkness to the edge of camp and crouched beside a tent.

          A man screamed and sat up.

          “What’s wrong?” someone said.

          “I just had this awful dream. A huge loaf of barley bread tumbled down onto our tent and knocked it flat.”

          The other man said, “Your dream can only mean one thing. Gideon is going to come and kill all the armies of Midian.”

          Gideon was amazed. God really was going to do this. He believed now. He stood and worshiped God.

          Then he hurried back to his camp. “Get up!” he shouted. “For the Lord has handed the Midianites over to us.”

          He divided the 300 men into three groups and gave each man a ram’s horn and an empty pitcher with a torch inside. He explained the plan God had shown him.

          It was just after midnight and the changing of the guards when Gideon and the hundred men with him crept to the outer edge of the camp of Midian. The other two groups went to the other sides of the camp, surrounding it.

          Suddenly they blew their trumpets and shattered their pitchers. Holding the burning torches in their left hands, they yelled, “The sword of the Lord and of Gideon!”

          They watched as the enemy army rushed around in a panic, shouting and running. In the confusion, they fought and killed each other and fled far away into the night.

          The Midianites were defeated. God was with Gideon just as He’d promised.

Conclusion:

Gideon was a scaredy-cat. There was no way he could fight that huge army. But he did. How?

God was with him. God helped him.

Are you ever scared? What are some things you are afraid of?

          (Ask for kids to raise their hands.)

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you had someone to help you all the time like Gideon did?

If you’ve asked Jesus to come into your heart and forgive your sins, you do!

Listen to these verses:

Joshua 1:9- “The Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Hebrews 13:5- “I will never leave you or forsake you.”

When you ask Jesus to come and live within you, He will never come out. His Spirit is always with you.

  • God can give you courage.
  • He can give you good ideas like He gave Gideon.
  • You don’t have to be lonely, for God is always there.
  • He is your best friend because He is closer to you than anyone else.
  • You can tell Him anything, and He understands.
  • You can trust Him to always do what is best for you.

But if you’ve never asked Jesus to come into your heart and forgive your sins, you do not have God with you all the time. Wouldn’t you like to become a part of God’s family today?

(Give the plan of salvation and invitation.)

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Beth Livingston

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