Scripture Read: Judges 6:36-40 Then Gideon said to God, “If You will deliver Israel through me, as You have spoken, 37 behold, I will put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor. If there is dew on the fleece only, and it is dry on all the ground, then I will know that You will deliver Israel through me, as You have spoken.” 38 And it was so. When he arose early the next morning and squeezed the fleece, he drained the dew from the fleece, a bowl full of water. 39 Then Gideon said to God, “Do not let Your anger burn against me that I may speak once more; please let me make a test once more with the fleece, let it now be dry only on the fleece, and let there be dew on all the ground.” 40 God did so that night; for it was dry only on the fleece, and dew was on all the ground.
Application: As we return to this text let’s review the question we answered and then look at another question. Was Gideon wrong or was he offending God by asking for the test? Clearly, we saw from Scripture that God makes no comment therefore we will not either. In reality, another question really is a more important one for us. It really doesn’t matter what Gideon did, or for that matter what anyone else did, because the question will always come back to what does God want each one of us to do. True, as we look at examples in Scripture we can glean principles that will help us make our decisions, still, in the end it really has everything to do with our personal walk with God. No one will stand before the Lord to account for anything other than what they did themselves. Having said that, we must remember that Gideon lived at a different time than we do, and the Old Testament saint had a different relationship with God than that which is afforded us in the New Testament era.
We have the Holy Spirit of God living inside us, making us the Temple of God and enabling us to hear and sense the very direction of God in our lives. Tragically, many believers today continue to ignore the clear presence and evidence of God working in their lives and insist on a “miracle show” from God. This was the condition that Jesus found the Jewish leaders in when He walked among them. They were not in the same situation as Gideon was. True, God had been silent for 400 years so there was no example of God before the people, much like Gideon’s time, but Jesus did not just walk up to the Jewish leaders and ask them to believe. He walked among them performing incredible signs to validate that He was the Messiah. From His works to His words everyone was astounded that this “son of a carpenter” could say and do the things He did. In that context, the Pharisees were still actively seeking a way to ignore the truth, so they approached Christ and demanded a sign. Consider His response:
Mark 8:11–13 The Pharisees came out and began to argue with Him, seeking from Him a sign from heaven, to test Him. 12 Sighing deeply in His spirit, He said, “Why does this generation seek for a sign? Truly I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.” 13 Leaving them, He again embarked and went away to the other side.
Perhaps, for us, it would be best to see how the Lord might feel if we continue to seek signs from Him in order to follow Him. Instead of thinking whether a fleece is a “sin” or not, it might be better to move it to a category of “is this beneficial or not?”. Paul, when talking to a church that was steeped in sin and immaturity made this statement:
2 Corinthians 5:7 for we walk by faith, not by sight
It might be wiser for us to consider when we struggle in our faith, that if we choose to place a “fleece” before the Lord, instead of thinking in terms of “right or wrong”, we might do better to think in terms of “immature or mature”. Each one of us must walk this journey of faith for him or herself, and only the Lord will measure the worthiness of that walk.
One last thing should be considered; if you feel that you must ask the Lord to validate a direction in your life through a “fleece” follow the example of Gideon. Make it specific and verifiable. Asking for a general sign like, if the sun comes up tomorrow, is not realistic and usually exposes an ulterior motive for the sign. Most times a fleece that is based on generalities is really a tool to try to justify a decision that has already been made. A real “fleece” is specific and leaves no question whether or not it has been verified. Even still, I encourage all of us to seek the Holy Spirit to stretch our faith and not look to walk by sight. He need not prove Himself to us, if anything we need to prove ourselves to Him!
Meditation Questions: What is more important to you, knowing exactly what the Lord wants or becoming more mature in your faith? When you are 100% sure about something, what does that show you about your faith? When you fear – what do you think drives that? Why? What do you do about it? What’s the best way to learn something? So if you apply your answer to how to grow your faith, what will that mean? When you struggle in your faith, what is the struggle really about? What can you do about that?