86 - Deborah and Barak


15 minute Story planner

Judges 4–5
The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories by Mary Batchelor page 103

After Joshua led the Israelites into the Promised Land they began to forget about God. They lived as the other nations around them lived and things started to go wrong. In the middle of their troubles the Israelites cried out. God heard their cries and sent rulers to help His people. The rulers were called Judges. Over a number of years God sent twelve judges; eleven men and one woman. Ehud was one of the Judges, he was left-handed. The female judge was called Deborah. Deborah was a prophetess, she listened to God and passed His messages on to the people.

1. Setting the scene  - 2 mins 
Find the Old Testament section in a Bible.
Show and talk about 'The Old Testament FlashCards' cards one to five

2. Starter question - 1 min  
Do you know what a palm-tree looks like? A tall trunk, big leaves and perhaps ripening coconuts tucked under it's branches. But did you know that some palm-trees are so tall they can be seen for miles around? Many, many years ago a lady called Deborah sat beneath a palm-tree, perhaps she chose the tree because everybody knew exactly where to find her. 

3. Tell the story with props - 4 mins

  • Twelve judges (see Printables)
  • A dressing-up crown
  • A picture of an iron chariot (see Printables or find suitable pictures on the Internet – beware of copyright regulations)
  • ‘Go!’ speech bubble (see Printables)
  • A tray of sand and a jug of water

Click on the images at the beginning of this post for more resources from the web

4. Story activity - 6 mins
Option 1 - Enjoy the puzzles in this weeks Dead Sea Comic Caper (see Printables)

Option 2 - Acting out the story
‘You will need: the role slips (see Printables), an A4 envelope, a low table that is safe for a child to stand on.

1. Before the session print and cut out the role slips. Place the role slips in the envelope. Make sure you have the same number of slips as you have children in your group. If you need to remove some of the role slips do not remove ‘Deborah’, ‘Barak’ or ‘Sisera’.
2. At the beginning of the session allow the children to select a role slip from the envelope. Explain that later they will be acting out their roles. Encourage the children to place their slip somewhere safe while they listen to the story.
3. Read the story or tell it to the children in your own words. Ask the children to specifically listen out for the role of their character in the story.
4. Act out the story with the children. If it is safe to do so, allow ‘Barak’ to stand on the small table to illustrate the Israelites climbing the hill. Encourage the ‘Israelite soldiers’ to stand on the floor behind him. ‘Sisera’ should stand in front of the table with the ‘enemy soldiers’.
5. When you talk about the enemy soldiers getting stuck in the mud encourage the soldiers to pretend to run away slowly through the mud. 

5. Reflective prayer - 2 mins  
Father God we think about the story. We imagine Barak and his men running down the hill towards the enemy. We remember that they trusted you would give them the victory that day. Father we imagine their surprise when it started to rain. We imagine the rain pouring down on both Barak and the enemy army. We picture the earth quickly turning to mud and the chariots' wheels sinking deeper and deeper into the soft ground. Father we thank you that when Barak's men reached the enemy soldiers the victory was theirs as each of the heavy chariots were stuck in the mud.

Father we think of Deborah's part in the battle that day. We thank you that she was able to listen carefully to you then pass on wise advice to Barak. Father help us to be both like Deborah and Barak. Help us to be people that listen carefully to you and people that pay attention to the wise and godly words of others. Amen.  

Alongside this story, make the craft...

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