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Gideon’s Army Today – Will Your Children Kneel or Bow?

Written by Dianna Wiebe on .

Will Your Children Kneel or Bow?

Gideon’s army was tasked with defeating an army many times its size. Today as parents, we can  feel like we are trying to raise up godly children with many forces standing against us. The story of Gideon’s army helps us to see that God is looking for people who faithfully serve Him in every generation.

What comes to mind when hearing the name, Gideon? Do you think about Gideon asking the Lord for a sign and fleeces? Or maybe Gideon and his army defeating the enemy army with just a few men? Gideon was a judge of Israel and lived in the Promised Land around 1100 BC. Today, we want to look at a small but powerful part of the story, the choosing of the 300 men in Gideon’s army.

The Choosing of Gideon’s Army

It was a hot day of touring in the land of Israel when we pulled up next to a beautiful garden with a small creek running through it. We walked up to the mouth of the creek where a spring came out of the rock face. Our guide sat us down and explained that this was the Spring of Harod, where Gideon’s army was reduced  to 300 men.

After reading from Judges 7, our guide asked us why did Gideon choose those men who knelt to drink from the water and released those men who bowed and lapped the water?

We gave the typical answers we had heard all our lives in some form:

  • Those who knelt were watchful and aware
  • The men who knelt were wiser than those who bowed down
  • Those who bowed let their thirst control them

After all our answers were given, our guide gave us the answer from  a Jewish perspective. As Gideon watch his army either kneel or bow he could instantly tell who was in the habit of bowing and worshiping before idols, and who had remained faithful to kneel only before God in worship.

Bowing or Kneeling

Those who bowed down did so in the same way they bowed to the idols they worshiped. Those who knelt demonstrated that they were faithful to God and not in the habit of bowing to the idols of their day.

All of our answers had pointed to physical reasons for the men being disqualified from the final selection. But when one considers the Jewish perspective of the choosing of Gideon’s army based up the men’s spiritual strength and conviction, one has a completely new perspective on what God was doing at this spring.

God was looking for men who not only were physically strong and mentally alert but above all spiritually faithful to Him! He was ready to defeat the enemies of Israel but needed a group of men who were committed to Him and His ways.

Our Children at the Waters of Testing

In our day we are raising children in a climate much like the time of the Judges of Israel when Gideon’s army was chosen for a special task.

In order to raise up children who bow only to the Lord, we need to teach them God’s Word, live it before them, and encourage them when they fail. Our children are called to live at this time because God has a mission for them, just like He did for those in Gideon’s army. Let us equip, empower, and encourage them so that they can fulfill that mission.

Today, each man does what is right in his own eyes. There are many idols to bow down to in our culture. But it is encouraging to read that we follow in a long line of parents who for centuries have raised up godly children. Children who don’t bow to the idols of their day, but kneel before the Lord alone. We are their spiritual descendants! Like the faithful parents before us, may our children will be like Gideon’s army when they are tested. For all children will be tested and they will either bow or kneel. Let us pray that when they come to the waters of testing, the Lord finds them faithful to Him.

May God bless all you raise those who kneel!


The Bible study of Gideon and his army can be found as part of Grapevine Studies Old Testament Overview.

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