Why is it that we are so prone to claim our victories and blame our failures? Well, that is a question I believe I know the answer to: sinful pride. When we experience something that we see as good (a promotion, a good grade, a flawless dinner, a powerful blog post—gulp), we are so quick to take credit for it because doing so feeds our sinful pride. It’s good to feel good. But when something goes awry, we are just as quick—even quicker?—to blame someone or something else. The reason is the same: we want to protect our sinful pride. It’s bad to feel bad.
But the gospel tells a different story—a better story.
It’s good to feel…bad. Well, that certainly needs to be qualified.
You are likely familiar with Gideon’s story—the story of an unlikely leader leading an unlikely band of warriors going to war and winning an unlikely victory. Unlikeliness is the obvious theme.
We are surprised when God chooses Gideon to lead Israel’s army. He was among the least of his family hiding from the Midianites when we first meet him; a man no one would have chosen to rescue God’s people. Then our surprise gives we to shock when we read of God whittling down what was already an undermatched army. Then our shock gives way to astonishment when that army, in an unorthodox way even, is victorious in battle.
The lesson is clear: Gideon and the Israelites did not win the battle—God did.
Gideon’s story is so compelling because it reminds us of another story, a bigger story which this one points to: Jesus’ story. No one expected the Christ to look and act like Jesus. He was not of royalty or nobility. He was the son of a modest, likely lower-middle class couple. And no one would have been impressed with his meager initial group of followers. It was a small, powerless group of men and women, many of whom were outcasts themselves. And no one certainly would have anticipated the astonishing way Christ brought victory to the world—in an unorthodox act of love, grace, and mercy, Jesus laid down His own life to secure the victory.
The lesson is clear: we did not defeat sin and death—God did.
-From Brian Dembowczyk at TGP website
Preschool Tip: There are plenty of details—important one—in this story, so be sure that the big idea is not lost on your preschoolers: that God did for His people what they could not do. Preschoolers especially should have a keen sense of awareness of what it looks like to need others. Take advantage of that great quality in them and pray that it remains within them and does not give way to sinful pride.
Kids Tip: For kids, besides driving toward the Christ Connection of this story, be sure to help them see the bigger story arc of Judges. God’s people were in sinful rebellion once more, and once more He sent a deliverer. But once again the deliverer could not address the root of the problem: sin. In Deborah and Barak we saw a team. Now we see a weak man. Next time we will see a strong man. All the while, God is showing us that no earthly judge was sufficient. Only Jesus is.
#JesusJam Have fun worshiping together to some songs!
CLICK HERE for this weeks story summary
Christ Connection: The Israelites cried out to God because they knew they could not save themselves. Even Gideon was not enough to save them; God used Gideon to help His people, but God fought the battle for them. The people needed someone who was mighty to save. Jesus Christ came to save us from sin because we cannot save ourselves. Only God, through Christ, can save us.
If you have a bible at your house, read the book of Judges 6-8. If you don't have one, that's okay! CLICK HERE.
Superbook: The Story of Gideon:
I usually don't just put videos in here but let's be honest, the school year has started and y'all mamas out there need a minute! This ones for you, mamas!
Make a torch Provide an empty cardboard tube for each child. Invite the children to glue pieces of orange and red tissue paper to one end of their tube to create a torch. They might also be able to stuff the tissue paper into one end and fan it out for bigger "flames". They can wrap the bottom of the torch in foil or decorate if they'd like. Remind kids • Gideon’s army carried torches when they ran toward =
What you'll need: • empty cardboard tubes, 1 per child • precut red and orange tissue paper • glue • hand wipes
Trueway Kids has some absolutely fantastic resources for those of us still doing church at home. One of those resources is a complete "Gideon" activity pages that even includes a printable Bible story book! CLICK HERE TO GET YOUR PRINTABLE