Saturday, July 30, 2011

Gideon's Jealous Brothers

By Mary Vee
Judges 8

Gideon's Thoughts

The battle ended. 

We'd conquered the Midianites but some of their soldiers had fled beyond our reach.

While we rested by the Jordan river my brothers from the tribe of Ephraim took over the conquest with fresh energy. They overpowered the enemy who stole all the watering places and took prisoner Oreb and Zeeb, two Midianite princes. Without their help, the Midianites could have regrouped and come back to attack.

After their victory, my brothers from Ephraim returned to the Jordan river. Instead of smiles and proud shoulders pressed back, they frowned, some sighed like they had been hurt--not their bodies, but their heart. Something made them sad.

I ran to my brothers to greet them. Their leader stepped forward. He didn't greet me with a hug, in fact, he stayed a few steps away. That's when I knew he and the others from Ephraim had been hurt--by me. What did I do?

I waited for him to speak. His eyes moved side to side and he lowered his head. He didn't need or want to be asked to speak. He needed my patience. 

I didn't look at anyone else, only him. I didn't sit or say a word to my brother, I'd only hoped he'd noticed I would wait for him to speak his heart.

A long moment later he took a deep breath and showed me his angry eyes. "Why didn't you call us to help when you went to fight the Midianites? We would have come." He shook his head and took a deep breath. He pinched his lips together, probably to hold back hurting words.

I wanted to hug him, but he wasn't ready. He would have pushed me away. I stayed where I'd stood and gently spoke, "Who am I, dear brother in comparison to you? What I have done is nothing."

He raised his head and studied my face. His shoulders and fist relaxed. I took a step closer and set my hand on his shoulder. "Don't you see what God did?  He delivered the Midianite princes into your hands. Not mine. What was I able to do compared to you? God chose you to seal the victory."

All my brothers from Ephraim stepped closer, their eyes wide. "Us? God chose us?"

I smiled and laughed. "Yes, my brothers. God gave the final victory to you."

The leader came close and hugged me. We, brothers from Naphtali, Asher, Manasseh and Ephraim celebrated our freedom the rest of the night, praising God and thanking him for our family.

1. Who was angry?
2. Why were they angry?
3. What did Gideon do?
4. What had God done for the brothers from Ephraim?
5. How do you think God included this story in the Bible?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Gideon's Battle

By Mary Vee
Judges 7

Gideon's Thoughts

Each man had his trumpet, clay pot, and torch.  We were ready to march.

Not far away stood a rim of cliffs in the shape of a half circle. I sent one unit of soldiers to the right, and another to the left.

I signaled my unit of 100 men to follow me. We moved toward the central position on the cliff overlooking the Midianites. When I nodded, my men spread out into a line along the edge. 

The moon had faded behind clouds darkening the sky.  In the valley below, thousands of Midianite tents held their soldiers.  From the lack of sound, I knew they were asleep except a few guards. 

The Lord promised me we'd no longer be their slaves. That night we would be free.

My blood tingled. My muscles twinged, ready to get started. I couldn't see the other units in the dark and wanted to give them enough time to get into position. Seemed like a good time to talk with the Lord.

"Lord, I have done all you said. In a few moments the three hundred men you chose will follow my lead. The trumpets will sound and the torches revealed. Bless us with your victory."

Then the middle watched sounded their change down in the Midianite camp.  

I raised my trumpet with my right hand and signaled my men to blow. The sound blasted out to the valley. I broke my clay pot. The light from my torch sprang from its hiding place. Our one hundred torches lit the sky around us. 

Instantly the units to my left and right blew their trumpet and broke their clay pots. Light flared on both sides.  My men and I shouted "The sword of the Lord and of Gideon!." The other units echoed the same. We all continued to shout, "The sword of the Lord and of Gideon!" again and again.

Then we watched the Lord work.

Men ran out of their tents with their swords like bees in a hive swarming about, confused. With all the noise, their leader couldn't give instructions. Their soldiers ran into each other with their swords raised wounding and killing each other.

I signaled my men to blow their trumpets again. The other units copied right away. 

The Midianites shouted at each other. Some started to run from the camp, others followed. They looked like a flock of scared chickens clucking and squawking to get away from a wolf.

I turned to my unit. "Men, the Lord has given us the victory. See, the Midianites are afraid of us. Go get your brothers. Run to Naphtali, Asher, and all Manasseh and tell them what has happened. Say, "Come down against the Midianites and take every watering place from them."

Israelite soldiers came from all of the northern mountains and villages. Together we fought the Midianites with the Lord's power and won our freedom.  

1.  What did each man have.
2.  What did Gideon's men do?
3.  There were only ______ soldiers with Gideon. 
4.  Why were the Midianite's afraid?
5.  Who actually fought this battle?
6.  After the Midianites ran away, what did Gideon have his men do?
7.  What did the Israelite soldiers win?

Monday, July 25, 2011

I'm Hungry

By Mary Vee

Gladys Aylward's Thoughts

photo courtesy of
I thought we'd find food. 

Villagers in China had no problem sharing what little they had. Whenever the children complained about their hungry stomachs I reminded them, "We'll get food at--" then I'd say the name of the next village. These words and a happy song usually kept their blistered little feet moving.

Seeing the Yellow River from the mountain top thrilled my soul. The children captured my joy and slept soundly through the night. But when they woke the next morning, their stomachs growled, and they whined.

"Ai-weh-deh, I'm hungry." Which of course helped them to remember other problems. "Ai-weh-deh, my feet are bleeding and they hurt." "Ai-weh-deh, I'm tired."

I needed to keep them moving. "It's all right, children. Down there--by the river--is the village Yuan Ku. The peope will give us food."  Smiles poured across their sweet little faces.  They looked up at me with their deep brown eyes.  I knew they trusted me. I only wished I could fill their stomachs right then.

We sang our way down the path to Yuan Ku, but they didn't dance any more.  At the village the children scurried to each home, knocking on doors hoping to find food.  No one answered.  The village had been abandoned.

For half a second I wanted to plop down in the middle of the road with my discouraged little children and cry with them.  But a sudden spark of bold fired through my mind and heart, forcing me to fight. Fight for our lives. Only the Almighty could have given me this strength.  I blew my whistle to call all the children. "Come children.  Let's go to the river. We can play in the water--won't that be fun?" 

As we walked out of the town, Liang and Teh found an old man sitting under a tree. I walked slowly toward him and bowed. "Sir, where are the villagers?" 

He blinked his tired, old eyes. "Gone. The Japanese are coming. Villagers took the boats across the river to escape. The Japanese are coming. Run to the mountains. No boats left. Hide. The Japanese are coming."

"We can't go back to the mountains. We must escape across the river, too."

He closed his eyes and said. "Run to the mountains. Hide. The Japanese are coming."

I couldn't take the children back to the mountains. We had to find food. We had to find a way across the river.  "Come children. Would you like to play in the water?"

Their tired, drooping eyes said "No," but their feet followed me down the path to the river.

For three days we waiting on the shores for a boat to help us cross the mile wide river. The older boys walked back to Yuan Ku, searched each cupboard in every house and brought back scraps of moldy bread. I boiled every crumb they found and fed the youngest children first. Only a spoonful was left for each of the older children.

Sualan, one of the older boys came to me. "Ai-weh-deh, you told us the story of Moses and the river opening for the people to cross.  Why can't we ask God to open this river?"

I didn't know how to answer his honest question. He'd listened to the Bible stories, the words gave him strength, yet he didn't understand that God knows all things and does miracles only at the right time.  I gazed at his hopeful eyes. There was only one answer I could give. I kneeled, facing the river. "Kneel with me, Sualan. Let's pray and see what God will do for us."

Do you want to know what God did?  Come read next week's story.

Gladys Aywlard.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

I Was A Chosen Soldier in Gideon's Army

By Mary Vee
Judges 7

An Israelite Soldier's Thoughts

Gideon yelled for us to wake up.  It was the middle of the night! 

I'd finally fallen asleep and walked into the best dream ever. Well, such was the life of a soldier.

I grabbed my weapons and hurried with the other 299 men to meet with Gideon. How did I know we had 300 all together you ask? Gideon was no ordinary leader. Here's what happened:

Thirty two thousand men answered the call to fight this battle. One night during training, Gideon surprised us all. He called a meeting then announced: "Anyone who is afraid may go home. No question will be asked."

We lost 22,000 men that night. How would we win a battle with only 1000 men?

The next day Gideon took us to the river and watched each man drink. He sent those who lapped water like a dog home! 700 soldiers! I'm glad I scooped water into my hand then brought it to my mouth to drink. Only 300 men became the chosen soldiers.

Gideon didn't think of these ideas on his own. The Lord gave him these instructions. To think, I had passed the Lord's tests to be a soldier in Gideon's army.

All the men assembled around Gideon with their weapons as fast as a lightening bolt.  Our leader folded his arms and glanced at our weapons. "Leave you weapons here. The Lord has instructed us to use a different battle strategy." 

We immediately dropped our weapons and stood ready to obey.

Gideon nodded. "Good." He walked through our group sorting us into units of 100 men. Each unit had a commander assigned. Gideon chose me as commander of my unit. I promised to faithfully follow his instructions, no matter how odd they seemed.

He pointed to a pile of trumpets, empty pitchers, and torches. "Give your men one of each."  I immediately went to the piles, gathered our supplies, and gave each of my men one trumpet, one empty pitcher, and one torch. We stood before Gideon ready to hear the next instruction.

Gideon pressed his shoulders back. "Watch me and do what I do. When I come to the edge of the camp I and those in my unit will blow the trumpets then you blow your trumpets from your positions. I will then shout 'The sword of the Lord and of Gideon.', you do the same."

I understood his plan right away.  Usually a whole unit of men would have only one trumpet blow and one torch lit.  Three hundred trumpets and torches would look like a mighty army to the Midianites. Since we would stand on the cliffs and hills surrounding their army, they would think thousands of soldiers stood behind our men.  The dark sky would help confuse our enemy.

This was a great battle plan.

I had heard about the Jericho battle when the Lord caused the city walls to fall. The Lord told the soldiers to walk around the city for seven days. After they obeyed, the city walls fell giving the Israelites an easy victory. All we have to do is obey. The Lord will take care of giving us the victory.  Oooooo I can't wait to see what happens.

Come back next week, I'll tell you what the Lord did during this battle.

1. What did the soldiers do when Gideon told them not to use their weapons.
2. Gideon divided the men into what groups?
3. What did Gideon give each man?
4. What did Gideon tell the men to do first? Second?
5. Who's battle plan was this?
6. What important action did the soldiers do? (hint did they question Gideon's orders?)
7. God will sometimes ask us to do unusual things. Why should we obey like today's soldiers obeyed?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Scary Dream

By Mary Vee
Judges 7

Purah's Thoughts

My master, Gideon, and I first hid in bushes behind a Midianite's tent while the moon stood over that tree; it now rests behind the terebinth tree.  So far, I've learned they snore really loud!

I don't really care about the bush poking me in the back or bugs crawling over my legs since I've been the one chosen to help spy. How did I get here? This is my last journal. Maybe this is their general's tent. We might hear changes in their battle plan, or the location of his strongest soldiers, or where he plans to attack first. It would be nice, of course, if one of them would wake up and talk; I'm getting cold.


One man's shadow sprang upward. "Wake up! Wake up you fool."

A second shadow rolled to a sitting position. "What? Are you mad?"

The man threw his hand into the air. "No. I had a horrible dream. Listen to this: a loaf of barley bread tumbled into our camp and crashed into a tent.  The tent wobbled then collapsed to the ground." 

The second man leaped to his feet and pressed his hands on the first man's shoulders. "Do you realize what you're saying?"

"We're dead."

The second man nodded. "Only the Israelite, Gideon, and his sword could attack with such force. God will give the victory to the Israelite soldiers."

The two men pulled their hair and tore at their clothes. They pushed through the tent flap and ran throughout the camp to warn others.

Gideon's eyes relaxed. He sighed and whispered, "Thank you Lord for letting me hear this news. You are a great a mighty Lord, Holy, and worthy of praise." He turned to me and tugged on my tunic. "Let's go, Purah. The Lord has work for us."

We sneaked back through slivers of remaining shadows to our camp. Once there, Gideon shouted, "Wake up, men. Get up, now. The Lord will give us the victory over the Midianites tonight!"

Unbelievable. I spied on the enemy. I watched them panic. My master is ready to attack. And I saw everything! Wow! God has blessed the Israelites, His people.

1. Who is Purah?
2. What did he and Gideon hear?
3. What did the news mean?
4. What did Gideon do?
5. The Lord showed his understanding, patience, and willing to help Gideon gain the confidence needed for the battle. How did he do that?
6. How has the Lord helped you?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Teh and Liang Led the Way

By Mary Vee

Gladys Thoughts

photo courtesy of
We'd slept another night, out in the frigid open mountain air. 

The children huddled close together to keep warm. 

Only the loving hands of our Lord could have kept them warm enough to sleep so soundly.

The next morning all one hundred children woke refreshed, ready to climb another mountain. By mid morning they whined about the walk again. I couldn't blame them. Their shoes had worn through, their clothes had rips, and they all needed a bath not to mention full stomachs.

When we stopped at the last village, my two oldest boys, Teh and Liang, found a can of white paint.  Their eyebrows wiggled up and down and they had a boyish giggle about them all morning. I didn't want to ask what they'd planned to do with the paint. I'd only hoped it would end up for the good.

At our noon break, Teh and Liang came to me giggling and snickering.  Each time they opened their mouth to ask their question, one would look at the other which of course caused them both to burst into laughter again. I sat on the ground and shook my head. "What mischief do you to have in mind?"

"Ah-weh-deh. We'd like to run ahead of the group." 

My eyes popped wide. "Ummm--that may not be the best idea. What if the younger children ran after you? They'd get lost--"

Teh and Liang eyes grew wide and shook their heads. "Oh, no. Ah-weh-deh. We do not wish to cause trouble. We want to play a game with the younger children." Teh held up the paint can. "We'll paint short messages, you know, like 'Walk in the way' or Follow me.' The little ones can search for the clues."

A huge smiled flashed across their faces and their happy brown eyes begged for a yes answer. I held my arms out to both of them. "Of course you can." They gave me a quick hug then marched ahead like scouts leading an army. 

I called the other children together. "Time to go. I have a song. Who will sing with me?"  We sang a few of the Bible songs I taught them and then they stopped. The little ones swarmed to one particular tree. The older ones ran to join them.  "Look! Teh and Liang left a message:  'Follow me.'"

The little ones sprang to life. They giggled and pressed their little fingers in the damp paint on the tree. One shouted, "Let's find another."  They flittered from tree to tree hunting for more messages, laughing and dancing.  The little ones didn't want to be carried. They wanted to run to find the next Bible message.

The and Liang's plan worked. The children bounced from one marked tree to another and didn't want to stop for meals, or rest.

This game lasted the remaining days of our journey. After twelve days, we climbed the last step to a mountain peak overlooking the Yellow River. We were exhausted. The children and I sat on the mountain edge and watched the river drifting by and sang all our happy songs. Tomorrow morning we'll climb down to the river.

God used Teh and Liang to lead the way and to help tickle the little ones into finishing our journey. I just love to see God solve problems.

Come read about our journey across the river next time.

Gladys Aylward

Dear Reader, 
Gladys Aylward's adventures will end in a few months.
 I want to start researching the life of the next missionary.  
Who would you pick?  
You can vote by writing your choice in the comment section. 
Here are some choices:  

David Livingstone-Africa
William Carey-India
George Whitfield - colonial United States
Hudson Taylor-China

Saturday, July 16, 2011

I Wouldn't Normally Spy on the Midianites

By Mary Vee
Judges 7

Purah's Thoughts

If you saw me writing this story, you'd understand why my hand shook--no it trembled.  I had never spied on anyone before, much less an army so vast it covered every inch of the valley. Who'd expect a servant to be an army spy?

My master, Gideon, woke me in the middle of the night and told me to follow him.  Once we walked away from our camp he whispered, "The Lord spoke to me a few moments ago. He told me to lead our army into battle."

I stopped and looked in his eyes. "I know, my Lord.  You told us about the fleece, and how the Lord instructed you to make the army smaller from thousands of soldiers to only three hundred."  

He pushed his hand through his hair. "Purah, I don't want to make a mistake. I want to obey the Lord, but--I--in truth, I'm afraid. There's thousands of Midianite soldiers camped in that valley, and only three hundred of us.  What if I made a mistake?"

I shook my head. "I don't have an answer. What would you like me to do?"

Gideon took a deep breath and smiled. "The Lord also told me to take you with me to spy on the Midianite camp.  He said we'd hear words that would bring strength and encouragement."

The Lord chose me to find secret information?  

Me, a simple servant? 

My feet sprang forward, my heart raced, and I couldn't keep the smile off my face! 

I took a deep breath and tried to be serious and stealth, but I hungered for the adventure, the thrill of sneaking into the enemy camp, the danger in hearing words from the enemy's tents, and delivering the news back to our camp.

Gideon turned back to me. "Purah, keep up."

"Yes, my Lord." We wormed our way from shadow to shadow silent as a lion. Years of sneaking around Midianites to find food taught us to move about undetected.

Gideon stopped behind a large bush banked against a Midianite tent.  He signaled me to join him.  We sat on the ground and waited for the Midianites to tell us their secrets.

This story will continue next Wednesday.

1. Who is Purah?
2. Why did Gideon wake Purah?
3. Why was Gideon afraid?
4. How did God show His love in this story?
5. What did the Lord tell Gideon and Purah to do?
6. God could have told Gideon to pick a strong, trained soldier. Why did He tell Gideon to take Purah?
7. What do you think will happen next?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wittling Gideon's Army

By Mary Vee
Judges 7

Gideon's Thoughts

My muscles had more energy than a cheetah out for a run.  The Lord showed me He'd lead the Israelites to victory by setting my bone dry fleece in a puddle of water.  Not one drop on the fleece!

Israelite soldiers traveled from near and far to fight for Israel. I'd say thirty-two thousand men came ready to conquer the Midianites.  We camped together on the south side of the Midianites. Many soldiers couldn't sleep-could you the night before something exciting would happen?

I walked away from the camp to have a quiet time with the Lord. I'd hoped He share a fantastic battle plan. 

To my surprise the Lord said,  "Gideon, you have too many men with you for Me to give Israel a victory. The men will think they won the battle by themselves."

I listened to His words. I could see His point, but wondered how Israel could win with less men.  He then said, "Call the soldiers and say, 'Whoever is afraid can leave. Go to Mount Gilead.'"

My heart pounded louder with each step the departing soldiers took.  Twenty-two thousand men left!  Just like that!  How could God win the battle with only ten thousand soldiers? 

I looked at the camp. So few men left! I decided to talk with the Lord again. Maybe I misunderstood the directions.  I returned to the same place and sat, waiting to see if the Lord would speak to me.  He said, "Gideon you still have too many men."

Ten thousand soldiers--too many?  The Lord then said, "Take the men down to the water. I will tell you who should stay and who should go home."

I grew quite curious about the battle. God must have had a big miracle in mind. I instructed the men to go to the water. Soon after we arrived the Lord said to me, "Everyone who laps water like a dog by scooping water with a hand to their mouth must be set aside. Those who bend low on their knees to drink should be sent home."

I walked along as the men drank and told all who lapped the water to stand by the tree. I sent the other men home after they finished their drink.  

The small group of men who stood by the tree had great strength and skill. I counted three hundred men. 

Only three hundred to conquer thousand of Midianites! Now this will take a miracle!

1. What did the Lord tell Gideon the first time?
2. What happened when Gideon obeyed?
3. What did the Lord tell Gideon to do the second time?
4. What happened when Gideon obeyed?
5. Who do you think will win the battle?

Come back to read what happened next.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Dancing, No Place to Sleep

By Mary Vee

Gladys Aylward’s Thoughts

photo courtesy of
By the end of our first day’s walk to the Yellow River, the children grew quite hungry and tired. Fortunately we came to a village I’d known quite well. I’d hoped someone would provide a place for us to sleep. 

I was always thankful for God’s mercy and help, but sometimes His answers surprised me. One hundred dirty, tired, and hungry children could have discouraged almost anyone, I suppose. I started singing a song to help the little ones. They danced a few more steps forward.

Near the end of the village an old man greeted us. “Where are you going?”

I bowed to him. “Over the mountains to the Yellow River.”

He shook his head. “You’re taking all these children there? What about the Japanese?”

I smiled at his concern. "We'll go over the mountains.”

By now all the children gathered near to listen. He looked at their sweet faces then smiled. “You may rest inside. No one else is here at this time.”

Usually I’d be happy about such an offer. But this invited us to sleep in a Buddhist temple filled with rats.  I didn’t sleep well that night.

The next morning the children sprang from their mats, filled their stomachs with rice and skipped out to the road.  The second night we couldn’t find a village. We huddled between rocks to stay warm from the cold wind.

By the third day, their cloth thin shoes had worn through. Their feet blistered and bled.  We’d reached the edge of Yang Cheng’s territory which meant the men who came to help had to leave. Our food sack had little left. I wondered if taking the children to the other side of the river truly was a good idea.

The older boys grew restless. They took some chalk, ran ahead and left special messages like “This Way,” and “Keep Going” for us. The little ones loved this new game.

Shortly before nightfall, the older boys ran to us shouting, “Soldiers!”  I didn’t know if they meant Japanese or National.  I grabbed my whistle and prepared to give the signal to hide. I didn’t want to risk losing the children in the woods, but I didn’t want them injured.

Before I had a chance to blow, a platoon of national soldiers poked through the woods. What a relief! “It’s all right children. You may come.” 

They giggled toward the soldiers. Who could resist?  The soldiers scooped up the little ones and gave them hugs. They invited us to their supper. Within a short while the children stuffed food into their mouths until they couldn’t eat another bite. I must admit, I ate more than I’d eaten in a long time, too. 

As our meal ended, a scary sound came from the sky. I had learned the sound Japanese airplanes made. The children had known how to hide since the first air attack. I found a nearby rock and squeezed between a crack. I searched for any child who might not have hidden in time. None in sight.

The planes flew low, searching for targets then disappeared over the mountains.  Once they’d left I called for the children. To my surprise and delight, the soldiers popped up from the tall grass and raised the little ones high in the air for me to see.

The first days of our journey already proved to be an adventure, but also proved our Heavenly Father would take care of us.

Come back next week to continue our journey with us.

Gladys Aylward

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Gideon's Fleece

By Mary Vee
Judges 6

Gideon’s Thoughts

Not long after I’d destroyed Dad’s Baal altar, Midianites and Amalekites swarmed to the Valley of Jezreel where we lived. 

Good grief. One altar destroyed and those armies thought they needed to come pound us?

And did thousands of soldiers need to come? Are we so important? 

The Midianites moved about setting up tents and their battlefield like bees in a hive. One jostle and the armies might have gone crazy-buzzing out of their camp to attack. I must admit all those tents scared the confidence right out of me.

Still, the Angel of the Lord recently spoke to me. He sat under the terebinth tree over there and called me a mighty man of valor. It surprised me. He caused me to believe He’d rescue us from this mess. 

I grabbed my trumpet to call every warrior in hearing range then sent messengers throughout Manasseh, Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali requesting their warriors to help. Thousands of Israelite soldiers met on our mountain within a day, ready to go to war.

I had an army and the battlefield, but I didn’t have assurances from the Lord. Without Him we’d lose this battle. I needed to know if He'd really help us win.

I stepped away from the men to be alone with God. In a nearby field I looked toward the heavens. “Lord, I need to know Your will. If it is OK with You, I’d like to set a piece of wool on the threshing floor. If there's dew on the fleece only, and the ground is dry, then I’ll know You’ll save Israel by my hand as You’ve said.”

I went back to my cave, grabbed a fleece and set it on the threshing floor before going to bed.

The next morning I grabbed a bowl and ran to the threshing floor. Even before I reached the fleece it looked soaked. I squeezed the wool and filled the bowl with water then touched the ground, it felt desert dry. 

Still, I didn’t feel sure of myself. I asked the Lord again, “Please don’t be angry with me, Lord. I want to make sure I know Your will. Would You show me again? This time if the fleece is dry and the ground is wet, I’ll know You’ll save Israel by my hand as You’ve said.”

I set the fleece back on the threshing floor and went to bed. 

The next morning I ran to the threshing floor and found the fleece desert dry, and the ground-soaking wet.  I turned the fleece around in my hands; not a drop of water on it anywhere. I touched the water soaked ground. Only God could have done this.

“OK, Lord, I now know You’ll give us the victory.

I called the soldiers to gather around for instructions.

Come back to see what happens next.


Who came to the Valley of Jezreel?
Why did this scare Gideon?
Who did Gideon call? Why?
What did Gideon ask God?
What did God do?
What did Gideon ask the second time?
What did God do?’’
Why do you think God did this for Gideon?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Guts to Do What is Right

By Mary Vee
Judges 6

Gideon's Servant's Thoughts

Gideon never sat around. He wanted to force the Midianites off our land, but didn't know how. Midianite soldiers stole our food before we had a chance to harvest one grain then they stole our animals.

Every day Gideon looked for some way to find food for his family without being caught by some Midianite soldier. One summer he harvested the crop early then hid the grain bundles in his cave. At night he threshed the grain on his father’s winepress.

Last night, Gideon called ten of us servants. We followed him to the woods where he could speak without others hearing. He waved us close. “An Angel of the Lord spoke to me last night.”

We were surprised. No one had heard a message from the Lord in seven years. “What did He say, Gideon?”

Gideon pointed to his father’s altar of Baal. “The Lord told me to take my father’s young bull up there. I am to tear down the Baal altar and cut down the wooden image next to it. Next I’m to build an altar to the Lord our God on the same ground in the proper way we’ve been taught and offer the bull as a sacrifice using the wood that once was the image.”

He looked behind himself and beyond us then leaned forward. “I need your help. This must be done quickly and quietly.”

I suppose if the Lord said to smash the altar and Gideon wanted my help, I needed to obey.  “I’ll gladly help.” The other nine nodded and said, “Me too.”

Gideon wanted to wait until after everyone slept. A few men from his father’s household and some men from the village had proven, more than once, to be untrustworthy. If the Midianite soldiers caught us, we could be killed.

We crept up to the altar and took it apart piece-by-piece until not one stone stood on top of another. We moved over to the wooden Baal image and cut it down. Gideon led the building of the altar for the Lord showing us how and where to put each stone.

We finished our work by dragging that heavy bull to the altar, heaving it up and setting it on top. After Gideon offered the bull as a sacrifice we sneaked back to our sleeping areas.

I woke to loud screams. Men from the city found the smashed altar and broken Baal. “Who did this?” one man shouted? Apparently someone had seen what we did last night and told  

They yanked Gideon’s father to the altar. “Bring us your son that he may die because he torn down the altar of Baal and torn down the wooden image of Baal.”

Gideon’s father’s eyes closed for a moment. He opened them and squared his shoulders back, which made him seem taller. “You men are crazy. Would you defend this useless hunk of wood once carved and called a god?  Let the first one of you to say yes be put to death by morning.  If this thing is a god, let it plead for itself.”

That day I felt proud to be a servant in Gideon’s household.

Why did the Gideon gather ten servants together?
Why did he keep this a secret?
What did they do?
Who told Gideon to do this? and why?
Who became angry at Gideon’s work and why?
What did Gideon’s father say?
Why did he defend Gideon?
What did you learn from this story?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Hopping to Safety

By Mary Vee

Gladys Aylward's Thoughts

photo courtesy of
The children greeted me even before I took two steps through the gate of the inn. Their squeals, "Ai-weh-deh is back!", giggles, hugs, dancing, and prancing circling me caused me to laugh. 

I hugged the twelve to sixteen-year-olds, bent to squeeze the eight to ten-year-olds, and kneeled to tickle the three to seven-year-olds.

These children and all the orphans who had come to live with me over the past years brought sunshine into every part of my life. 

Hundreds of children who used to live here had already been taken to safety. I've thought of their sweet faces and the fun games we use to play then sighed because I missed them so much. Still, I knew they were safe--far away from the dangers of war. 

But each day brought new sweet faces in need of a home, love, and food. One hundred children slept in what use to be an inn suitable for weary travelers in need of a place to sleep, food, and willing to listen to a Bible story. Boys and girls ran through gaping holes in walls ripped apart from bombs--not understanding their home should not look that way.

I called all the children to come hear my news. "Guess what? We're going for a walk, a long walk! We'll take our sleeping mats and rice and go to those mountains over there. I want you to go to sleep right away. We'll leave early tomorrow morning."

The children leaped to their feet and cheered. "Yipee! We're going for a walk. We're going for a walk. We can walk to mountain tops, we can sing and dance and hop." They skipped and danced all around the court singing their new song. 

"Off to bed, now. We want to be rested for our trip."

They giggled their way to their sleeping quarters. 

The next morning, the other missionaries helped me prepare huge portions of rice for breakfast. We wanted the children's stomachs full.  Two men arrive with the rice that had been given to us for our journey. It wasn't much. Perhaps enough to feed the children until we reached the next city. From there we'd have to beg for our food.

The older children helped the younger ones gather their sleeping mats and then herded them out to the court. Counting all their little bodies proved difficult. Their excitement kept them dancing and jumping. I must have restarted at least ten time.

When I counted the hundredth child we left. My long group of hopping, singing, laughing, joking children flittered along the road leading to the mountains. I would have preferred we WALK in a line to make sure none lost their way, but I soon realized hoppers, climbers, dancers, singers, and prancers could not walk in a line.

Our journey began. 

The children didn't know the inn they left stood in enemy territory and they had been in great danger. They didn't know the journey ahead would be terribly long and they would get hungry. They also didn't know they needed to leave for their safety.

For now, they knew they could hop on this road. 

For now I knew God took care of them.

Come next week to read what happened next.

Gladys Aylward

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Midian Locusts

By Mary Vee
Judges 6

Gideon's Thoughts

For seven long years I'd helped my father plant seed and take care of a new flock. Yup a new flock.

Each year, right before harvest, Midianites traipsed into our land like a swarm of locusts, attacked our people then destroyed our crops and animals. I'm tired. Tired of working for nothing. 

We moved out of our home into a nearby cave for protection. Others lived in dens or built homes using rock from the side of the mountain. Can you imagine leaving your home, your nice comfy bedroom, and your neighborhood to live in a musty cold cave?  

With little food available I'd been hungry for seven years. Well, something had to be done. I sneaked to the fields and gathered wheat before the Midianites came, hid the bundles out of sight, and used our winepress to thresh the wheat. Pretty smart, eh?  

One day as I threshed the wheat, I saw a man sitting under our terebinth tree. I had no idea who he was or when he sat there. He didn't look like a Midianite.  I set my wheat down and walked to him.

He smiled and said, "The Lord is with you, Gideon. You are a mighty man of valor!"

How did he know my name. And why did he call me a mighty man of valor? What makes him think the Lord is with us.  I haven't seen any proof of that.  

I cleared my throat and said, "If the Lord is with us, why do the Midianites attack every year and steal our food? Where are the miracles? My father says the Lord rescued our people from Egypt." I shook my head. "Now--well--I think the Lord has left us. We're slaves and prisoners of the Midianites."

He watched me sputter out angry words. His eyes were soft, like he cared what I thought. He nodded. "You have great strength, Gideon. I have chosen you to save Israel from the hand of the Midianites."

Me? Save Israel?  I picked up a piece of chaff and pulled it apart.  "My Lord, how can I save Israel? My family's from the weakest clan in Manasseh. Not only that, but I'm the least important person in my father's house." I threw the piece of chaff on the ground.

He said, "Gideon, don't be afraid. I'll be with you and you will defeat the Midianites."

Maybe this man was a prophet. Why else would he talk like that? Then I realized, if he was a prophet, I'd better bring him a gift. "Would you show me a sign to let me know for sure it is You who talks to me? Wait right here. I'll bring you an offering."

He nodded. "I'll wait until you come back."

I prepared meat and placed it in a basket, took the broth still in the pot, and some unleavened bread and brought it to the man.  He said, "Lay the meat and bread on this rock, and pour out the broth."

I did as he said then stepped back. He held out his staff until the end touched the meat and bread. A flame of fire popped up from the rock and burned both the meat and bread. Poof!

The fire disappeared as quickly as it came. I turned to where the man sat under the tree and saw he'd disappeared too! 

Oh no! He had to be the Angel of the Lord. I actually spoke with the Lord face to face! I'm gonna die for sure. No one spoke to the Lord and lived. 

I grabbed at my clothes and paced before the tree like a wild man. But then a calm voice spoke, "Gideon, peace be with you. Don't be afraid, you won't die."

I heaved a big sigh. "Really?"

I grabbed all the rocks nearby and built an altar to the Lord and called it The Lord is Peace.  That night, I thought about the Angel of the Lord's words and wondered how our people could defeat the large Midianite army.

I'll tell you more next time.


The photo is of a winepress courtesy of Visual Bible Images

1. What was Gideon unhappy about?
2. Where did he live? and why?
3. How long had he lived there?
4. Who invaded their land each year?
5. Who visited Gideon, and why?
6. What did Gideon ask to bring the visitor? 
7. Why did he want to do that?
8. God asks us to do things for Him everyday? What did He ask you to do today?