Gideon Part 2: 'How Can I? I Am The Least Important!'
An assembly from the Culham St Gabriel archive
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To continue the story of Gideon, showing that we can do the 'impossible'.
Preparation and materials
- This assembly covers a condensed version of Gideon’s story in narrative/drama form. This is the second part, the first part having been made available in February 2015.
- Familiarize yourself with Gideon’s story in Judges 6 and 7.
- You will need a:
– trumpet or cornet player
– pretend 'flaming torch'
– jar to hide the torch in.
- Have available small pieces of paper and, before you begin, give one of these to a child from each class, asking them to put it in his or her pocket.
Do you remember what happened to Gideon, who met an angel and was told he had to rescue his people from the enemy? He needed to be very brave, but what the angel said helped him. Well, here's what happened next.
Gideon didn't waste any time and obeyed God straight away. He was still frightened to do anything in the daytime, but, that night, he got ten friends and went secretly to the place on the hill where the idols were worshipped. He and his friends destroyed the idols and built an altar there to God.
Gideon's father knew what he had done and was glad, but the people in the town weren't! They were angry. They wanted to kill Gideon, but Gideon didn't give in. Neither did his father. They knew that they had to put God first if they were to get rid of the enemy.
Gideon was still scared and thinking, 'But this . . .' and 'What if that . . . ?', so he asked God to make him really, really sure he could defeat the enormous enemy army. He put a sheep's fleece on the ground that night and asked God to let the fleece be wet with dew and the ground dry if he thought Gideon could succeed. It happened!
Just to be absolutely sure, the next night he asked God to do it the other way round – wet ground, dry fleece. That happened, too, so Gideon believed he would win.
Over the next few weeks, he gathered an army and was ready for battle. The enemy armies were now camped on his side of the river, down in the valley with hills all round. They were like a swarm of insects – thousands and thousands of them. Still, Gideon had many thousands in his own army by now. 'Should be OK', he thought. He was wrong.
The Lord spoke to him again. 'You have too many men, Gideon. Send home the ones who are scared.' Some 22,000 went home.
Ask Years 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 to put up their hands to show the proportion of those who 'scared' compared to those who remained, represented by Reception and Year 1 – these were the 'braver' people.
The Lord spoke to Gideon yet again. 'You have too many men, Gideon. Take them to the river and if they scoop up water and lap like a dog, keep them. If they get down and put their faces in the water to drink, send them home!' How many were left?
Ask the children you gave the paper to earlier to put up their hands.
Just a few. In fact, only 300.
Gideon split them into three groups and gave them each a trumpet (show the trumpet or cornet player’s instrument) and a torch hidden in a jar (show these items, too). Then they set off into the night, down to the valley where the enemy camp was, all quiet with the men asleep. It was nearly midnight.
Get the children who were given the pieces of paper to come out and let the drama begin! Ask them to go to three sides of the room, surrounding the rest of the children, who are now ‘the enemy’. Ask the children with the pieces of paper to obey you.
Gideon said, 'When I give the signal, blow the trumpets, break the jars and hold up the torches, shouting, 'A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!'
Ask the trumpet or cornet player to play briefly.
Then, if appropriate, the whole school – however big or small – could also shout the above phrase, so that the children can hear what 300 people shouting might actually sound like.
Gideon and his friends didn't have to do anything else because the enemy then ran away!
Explain that, in the darkness, they mistook themselves for Gideon's army, so fought and killed one another. Many escaped, but Gideon had other Israelites follow them to the river and cut off their escape routes.
Explain, too, that the main thing was everyone knew it was really a victory for God. What had seemed impossible had happened, with only a few obedient and faithful people.
Time for reflection
Ask everyone to sit quietly and think about being scared and needing someone to help them know that they are able to do something difficult. Give a few suggestions of such difficult things.
Even when things seem impossible, help me to trust you.
Please give me friends I can rely on and help me listen to adults I can trust.
'Be bold, be strong' (Hymns Old and New (Kevin Mayhew), 60, 2008 edition)