Trusting God, Not Yourself (Part 3)
by Sophia Prinsloo
and Barbara Wilmerton Haas
Text Version | Afrikaans
A Bible Story About Gideon
(Continued from Part 2)
Joni always needed to go to sleep with a light on because she was afraid of the dark. She constantly feared some scary-looking, furry or slimy monster might be hiding in a dark corner of her room, just waiting to jump out and grab her with its big claws. Buried under her soft covers, she sometimes even imagined she heard a growl.
Every now and then Joni would wonder what a monster smelled like. If she couldn't see it in the dark, maybe she could smell it. Anyway, she certainly didn't want to get close enough to feel its fur or disgustingly cold, slimy and stinky skin!
Then one evening she read Psalm 139:12 in the Bible. It said that nighttime and darkness were the same as daytime and light to the Lord, because the night shines as bright as the day for Him. He can see just as well in the dark as He can in the light — one is the same as the other for God.
"Mom! Mom!" Joni yelled at the top of her lungs as she quickly ran downstairs, her feet barely touching the steps.
Her startled mother almost dropped the glass mixing bowl from her hands as she swirled around to see what was the matter. There stood Joni with a Bible in her hand and a look of astonishment spread across her face. "What's wrong, Joni? Tell me what happened!" Mom exclaimed with an anxious look on her face.
Completely out of breath, Joni blurted out, "Mom! I know what I must do, not to be afraid of the dark anymore!"
Mom was quite amazed. "What, my darling?" she asked expectantly.
"It is written here in the Bible. It says right here in Psalms that the Lord can see what I cannot see. I just have to trust Him to protect me from things I cannot see but, Mom, He can see even in the dark!"
That night Joni was not one bit afraid of turning off the lights when she went to bed because she knew the Lord was with her, watching over her the whole night.
The report of Gideon's bravery rapidly spread throughout the whole country of Israel. The people were excited hearing about his valor, his zeal for the Lord and his utmost disregard for heathen idols. They were sure he could be the one God would use to save them from their enemies.
Just as quickly, through word of mouth, the news of Gideon also spread to the heathen nations living around Israel. These heathen nations were not at all happy with Gideon. They began sending messages to one another about what was happening.
The Midianites' angry message of warning to the other heathen nations sounded an alarm: "We've got problems! How dare this lowly Hebrew destroy the altar of Baal, chop down Asherah and use her wood to sacrifice to their God! We must avenge our idols!"
The Amalekites replied, "We had better act rapidly. We need to destroy Gideon and his people before they come and try to destroy all of us and put an end to our way of life!"
And the children of the East urgently let others know: "Let us join forces! We must fight against the children of Israel and wipe them from the face of the earth!"
Soon an army of sweaty Midianites, Amalekites and the children of the East waded across the Jordan River to prepare for battle against Gideon and Israel. As their wet clothes were drying out from the river crossing, they began pounding spikes into the ground, setting up their tents throughout the valley of Jezreel, the famous valley where many great battles had taken place before. There were so many men, they were bumping into one another in their haste to get bedded down for the night.
When he looked down from the mountain, Gideon witnessed a frightening sight and heard the noise of a tumult coming from below. From high above, the valley looked as if it were swarming with locusts but, taking a closer look, Gideon saw hundreds of men and camels from surrounding heathen nations. How do you think that made Gideon feel?
In himself, lowly Gideon probably would have been trembling in his sandals but the Bible tells us, "The Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon, and he blew a trumpet." God empowered him to blow that trumpet so loudly that its sound traveled across the hills, sending a warning signal to the men of Abiezer to come, follow him. Then Gideon sent messengers throughout the tribes of Manasseh, Asher, Zebulon and Naphtali, summoning their fighting forces to come up to meet them.
That night, as all the men were preparing to come to battle, humble Gideon lifted up his voice and earnestly sought the Lord in prayer. He wanted to make sure that God's presence and power would go with him. He was well aware that only in God's might could they defeat these massive armies.
Gideon said to God, "Lord, I really need to know if You are actually going to use me to rescue Israel. I will sheer one of my sheep and place its fresh, woolen fleece on the threshing floor tonight. When I come back in the morning, if I find wet dew only on the fleece with dry ground around it, then I'll know that You are surely going to rescue Israel through me, as You have said."
And that's exactly how it happened! It was amazing! God actually listened and honored Gideon's special request. When he got up early the next morning and squeezed the dew out of the fleece, he was able to wring out enough water to fill a whole bowl right up to the brim; yet the ground was completely dry!
Gideon was encouraged but not yet persuaded, so he talked to God again: "Lord, please do not be angry with me so I may speak with You once more. Please let me do one more test with the fleece. This time, let the woolen fleece be dry and the ground wet."
Early the next morning, Gideon woke up to the sound of bleating sheep. He pulled on his robe, paused at the door to take in a breath of fresh air, then eagerly rushed to the threshing floor to see if the Lord had done as he had asked. And to his amazement, yes! The fleece was dry but the ground was wet. Finally, Gideon was convinced that the Lord would go with them and use him to save Israel from the heathen nations, as He had promised.
In the meantime, a mighty force of 32,000 men responded from many directions and came together to fight in Gideon's army. Gideon and his men got an early start. When they reached their camping place, there was quite a commotion with the sound of pounding hammers driving spikes deep into the ground, so they could set up their tents and unpack their gear and provisions. Above them stood the peaks of Mount Gilead, and right beside them a spring named Harod bubbled as it gently flowed along the rocks. The Midianites were camping just north of them in the valley of Jezreel, at the bottom of a hill called Moreh.
While the soldiers of Israel discussed the war ahead of them and practiced their fighting skills with each other, Gideon went into his tent to pray and ask the Lord for wisdom for the battle. To his astonishment, the Lord told him, "You have too many men!"
"What?" Gideon scratched his ear and screwed up his face in absolute disbelief. "Too many men? Does the Lord really see how many heathens are down there?"
But the Lord continued, "I can't let all of you fight the Midianites because then I'll hear the people of Israel boasting that they saved themselves by their own strength. The men who are afraid may leave and go back home."
So Gideon called the men together for his incredible announcement: "God wants anyone who is afraid to leave now and go back home." The men stood there in astonishment. One turned to another beside him and questioned, "Did Gideon really say what I thought I heard him say?"
Gideon could hardly believe what he just said. Did he really hear God right? He watched as 22,000 of the men packed up and left the camp. There were 10,000 men who remained. But God wasn't finished yet with Gideon's army.
Again, the Lord said to Gideon, "They are still too many men!" Then the Lord told Gideon, "Take the men down to the spring and I will test them there for you there. If I say, 'This man will go with you,' then he will go, but if I say, 'That one will not go with you,' he will not go."
So off they went, down to the water, Gideon and his 10,000 men. "What's going on?" "Why are we going to the spring?" the men questioned one another.
Then Lord said to Gideon, "Divide the men into two groups. The first group will be the ones who choose to cup the water in their hands and lick it like a dog, without kneeling down. The second group will be the ones who choose to kneel down and drink the water directly from the stream, without using their hands."
Well, only 300 men drank from their hands, showing they were alert and on their guard at all times. All the others drank face down with their mouths to the stream. Drinking like that, the enemy could easily sneak up behind them and attack them by surprise.
The Lord told Gideon, "I will rescue you with the 300 men who lapped the water from their hands, without kneeling down, and will hand over the Midianites to you. Let all the others go HOME!" In the end, the second group of 9,700 men who left were happy to give the remaining men their jars of food and the trumpets they had brought.
Gideon turned and looked over his remaining 300 men that God had chosen and then stared down at the noisy, heathen armies and their camels scattered across the valley of Jezreel. They were so many in number, just like the sand on the seashore — too many to count. He knew for sure that ONLY God could give Israel victory with just 300 brave men fighting against those thousands of heathens. NOW the battle would truly be the Lord's and, in this way, the whole country of Israel would learn to TRUST God for victory and not themselves or their own strength.
(Continued in Part 4)
The biggest sign God ever gave us was his Son, Jesus Christ! We must always put our trust in Him and his Word, not in ourselves.
1. Why did Gideon ask the Lord for a sign?
2. What happened to the fleece during the first night? And the second night?
3. How many men came to join Gideon to fight against the heathen nations?
4. How many were chosen to be in the first group who stayed to fight?
5. Why did God send the others home?
6. What items did the men of the second group leave behind?
7. Do you think Gideon trusted God? Will you?
A VERSE TO LEARN
"Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts" (Zechariah 4:6).
AN ALTERNATIVE VERSE TO LEARN
"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding" (Proverbs 3:5).
Heavenly Father, help us not to become proud or arrogant.
Teach us not to depend on our own, limited strength or
our own, limited intelligence. Help us seek greater wisdom
from above, found in your Word, and give us grace
to trust You fully. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
CAN YOU FIND THIS STORY IN THE BIBLE?
Gideon's men lapping water coloring page
Bible Heroes: Gideon Coloring Book
Colour the Bible Book 1: Genesis - 2 Chronicles
Gideon coloring page
Gideon: Draw the Scene
Coloring Through the Bible
Beginner's Bible Super-Duper Mighty Jumbo Coloring Book
Bible Story Coloring Pages V2
Really Big Book of Bible Story Coloring Pages
My Bible Coloring Book
Thru-the-Bible Coloring Pages
What's in the Bible Reproducible Coloring Book—Genesis to Revelation
Children's Bible Coloring Books
Fill In the Blanks
Fear in a Hat game
Gideon, Blow Your Horn! Story and Activity Book
Gideon Picture Clue Read and Trace activity worksheet
God Sends Gideon Fear Factor Game
Memory Verse Activity
Sense how you feel: Imagine you are Gideon
The Calling of Gideon
Best Book of Bible Activities
Encyclopedia Of Bible Games For Children's Ministry
The Humongous Book of Games for Children's Ministry
The Super Sized Book of Bible Puzzles
Memory Verse Games for Kids
Big Book Of Bible Puzzles
Bible Puzzles: Word Search
Big Book Of Bible Story Activity Pages V1
Jumbo Bible Activity Book 4
Christian and educational toys
Children's Activity Books
Gideon Toilet Paper Roll Craft
(Adapt by changing trumpet to a rope. He needed torch to see at night.
Or you could tape a birthday candle to one hand and a piece of string to the other.)
Gideon Cube Craft
Mighty Man of Valour Craft
Bible Crafts & More (Ages 3-6)
Bible Crafts On A Shoestring Budget: Paper Sacks & Cardboard Tubes (Reproducible: Ages 5-10)
Big Book of Bible Crafts (Ages 3-12)
Encyclopedia Of Bible Crafts For Preschoolers
Praise God with Paper Plates (Reproducible: PreK-Grade 2)
Really Big Book Of Cool Crafts For Kids w/CD-Ages 4-12
Giddy-Up, Gideon - Split Track [Music Download]
I Can Be Your Friend, VeggieTales Sing-Alongs DVD
Let Your Light Shine
100 Ways To Know God Loves Me & 100 Songs
100 Bible Stories 100 Bible Songs
Action Bible Songs
Bible Songs on CD
Bible Songs on DVD
100 Singalong Bible Songs For Kids
21 Bible Action Songs (watch online)
25 Favorite Sunday School Songs
Angels in the Bible Storybook
Bible Story Cards: Super Cards (Mini-posters), Old Testament
Gideon and the Small Army - eBook
Gideon - eBook
Gideon-Soldier of God: A Bibletime Book
God Provides Victory through Gideon
Samson/Gideon Flip-Over Book
Walls, Brawls, and the Great Rebellion - eBook
365 Read-Aloud Bedtime Bible Stories
365 Activities For Kids:
A Bible Story And Activity For Each Day Of The Year
100 Bible Stories 100 Bible Songs w/2 CD
Bible in Pictures For Toddlers
Egermeier's Bible Storybook for Beginners
Early Reader's Bible
The Action Storybook Bible
The Children's Illustrated Bible
The Preschooler's Bible
Pilgrim's Progress Comic
Spanish Children's Books
The Picture Bible (also in Spanish)
Watch and listen to the story of Gideon
Adventures in Odyssey® 461: B-TV: Obedience [Download]
Bible on the Go Vol. 13: The Stories of Gideon and Samson (Judges 6-8, 13, 16) - Unabridged Audiobook [Download]
Gideon: Tuba Warrior, VeggieTales DVD
God Loves You Very Much, DVD
Jacob's Ladder, Episodes 1 & 2: Gideon, DVD
Read and Share DVD Bible Volume #4
Scare Tactics (Gideon), Bugtime Adventures DVD
Superbook: Gideon, DVD
The Bible Comes Alive, Your Story Hour Volume 2, Audiobook on CD
The Call of Gideon Animated Children's Bible Story (watch online)
The Animated Kid's Bible (3-DVD Set)
The Beginner's Bible Box Set, 4 DVDs
#1: Read and Share: The Ultimate DVD Bible Storybook
God's Story from Creation to Eternity (listen & watch online)
The Bible MiniSeries DVD Set
The Jesus Storybook Bible Curriculum Kit
Bible story DVDs
Resources for Parents and Teachers
Action Bible Curriculum Student Books Q2
The Calling of Gideon
801 Questions Kids Ask About God
African American Resources
Almost Every Answer for Practically Any Teacher
Bible Memory Games
Bible Story Coloring Pages Vol. 2
The Jesus Storybook Bible Curriculum Kit
Bible Crafts and Activities for Any Story
Big Book of Bible Games
Bulletin Board helps
Chicken Soup for the Teacher's Soul
Church Nanny Sos: Teaching Discipline Essentials for Preschool Ministry Volunteers
FREE materials to Bible schools, Bible colleges, seminaries, churches, missionaries & individuals worldwide
52 Games That Teach The Bible
Free educational videos
God's Servants Teach Me
God's Wisdom for Little Boys: Character-Building Fun from Proverbs
Help! I'm a Sunday School Teacher
How To Lead a Child To Christ
King James Version Gift & Award Bibles
Leading Little Ones to God: A Child's Book of Bible Teachings
Lord Teach Me To Pray For Kids
Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours
Memory Verse Ideas
Memory Verse Resources
Pray & Play Bible for Young Children
Seven Laws of the Learner
Sunday school resources
Talking to God
Teachers' Reproducible Classroom Pages
Teaching Children Memory Verses Ages 4-5
Teaching Children To Pray Ages 4-5
Teaching to Change Lives
The Big Book of Bible Skits
Things To Make Craft Activities
Vacation Bible School
What Every Sunday School Teacher Should Know
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Last updated July 22, 2018.
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