Read Judges 6:1-40
As a child, I used my own share of “fleeces” in attempts to discern the outcome of future events or to determine God’s will for my life. I can remember standing in front of our house waiting for a ride to a Little League baseball game and saying to myself, “If the next car that passes by is red, that is a sign that we will win.” There were also times when I prayed, “God, if you want me to ________, then You __________.” In the end, I guess I didn’t place much value on these thoughts and prayers, because not a single outcome really stands out . . . only a few of the bargains and requests.
But Gideon did it. He used a fleece . . . twice. First it was, “God, if you are in this, then make this fleece wet and the ground dry.’” And God answered with clarity. But Gideon wanted further confirmation. Next it was “Make the ground wet and the fleece dry.” Once again, God answered with clarity.
Now, before you go out and buy your own patch of sheepskin and corresponding wool, take note of two things:
- God had already clearly spoken. He had already clearly expressed to Gideon the fact that He wanted to use him in the upcoming conquest. And He had already guaranteed a victorious outcome. God had already communicated with Gideon in miraculous and spectacular ways. In that regard, Gideon’s “fleeces” reflect a lack of faith that God was really going to follow through on His promises.
- God did not reprimand Gideon for the fleeces. That is important to note. Even though God had made Himself clear, He did not express displeasure with His servant. Instead, He gladly responded to Gideon’s requests and confirmed and reconfirmed His original statement.
So what should we glean from this story? First of all, when God speaks, we can trust Him. He won’t change His mind or back down on His promises. We can trust Him and act in faith. Secondly, He seems sensitive to our doubt. While we need to be careful in declaring to God our terms for how He should make His way clear, we can cautiously read and reread His promises and His will. We can sensitively seek His leading through the Holy Spirit.