Walk in Wisdom – Gleanings from the Scripture
Joshua 6.39 Then Gideon said to God, “Let not your anger burn against me; let me speak just once more. Please let me test just once more with the fleece. Please let it be dry on the fleece only, and on all the ground let there be dew.” 40 And God did so that night; and it was dry on the fleece only, and on all
the ground there was dew.
The account of Gideon placing a fleece before the Lord, has become so proverbial, even Worldly culture sometimes references the idea. The concept is simple: We do not know what to do in a certain circumstance – which decision to make, so we “set out a fleece”, “Lord, if you do X, then I’ll know I should do “Y.” ‘ ”
Now let it be said that it is ALWAYS laudable, always right to want to know and therefore DO God’s will in any given circumstance. Our first resort on that count is to obtain a thorough working knowledge of God’s Word, so that His revealed will on the myriads of matters He handles there is plain and easy to discern. No fleece is needed when it comes to whether or not we ought to obey His revealed will. Such is always – “yes.” Without question. I never need to seek God to know if I ought to murder my neighbor or not. His Word is pretty clear on that.
But what about those times when it is not so clear? The basic answer is to weigh the options carefully, rule out anything that would require me to do something God forbids in His Word, or would keep me from doing anything He requires in Word, pray, use my best wisdom, decide and trust Him to intervene or correct if I’ve misjudged. Is there any way in which what I’m considering is unloving either to God or anyone else? If not, I am free to do it. Now my job is to decide, and trust Him.
One might still ask, “but is it OK to ask for some kind of “confirmation” that my decision is the right one? To which we obviously reply – we are free to ask Him anything. He is gracious and good to His children. But what we do not want to end up doing, is becoming sign and omen watchers. Why not? Because subjective signs are so easily open to subjective interpretation. You know, God wouldn’t have brought this gorgeous younger woman into my life, and let me have such strong feelings for her, and made it so we have this just amazing connection, if I shouldn’t leave my wife and be with her – right? Wrong. Back to some things just shouldn’t be fleeced.
When it comes to the whole thing with Gideon though, we need to consider the entire context, and not just the verses cited. Why? Because the story is much bigger. You see 6.39-40 are not an account of how Gideon determined God’s will at all. This in fact marks the THIRD sign he had asked for (see: 6.17-24 and 36-38). Gideon already KNEW God’s will. This second attempt at the fleece was in fact a product of Gideon’s faithlessness. The account is not to be read as endorsing a method of determining God’s will, but a record of God’s longsuffering and willingness to patiently accommodate one man’s lack of faith. Fleeces aren’t evidence of faith – but evidence of a lack of faith. Sure, if you are really uncertain regarding a situation you cannot easily discern the answer to, ask The Father to affirm the rightness of your decision. Not looking for “is this THE answer?”, but “am I OK and not violating anything I haven’t thought of?” Perhaps a piece required in working out the details needs to fall in place. A part of what needs to happen in order for all the bases to be covered properly, when it does not seemapparent how it can happen. That’s depending upon providence. That’s legitimate. But don’t play Bible Ouija Board. You’ll just get fleeced.