Archive for the ‘Gideon’ Category

i just read this in my Experiencing God study this week and it is so true. What i do reveals what i believe about God… regardless of what i say. So what was revealed about Gideon’s belief in God? There may be other things than what i saw.

For me putting out a fleece is an act of doubt. As with Gideon, the Lord may honor my request but He may not be happy that i asked.  i will have to face the fact that my faith is weak. But, i am aware that God is incredibly gracious and patient with me, especially when my faith is weak. Gideon knew he was on dangerous ground and was trying God’s patience by asking for multiple signs. After the first fleece, he said, “Do not be  angry with me. Let me make one more request.”

For me, putting out a fleece is not a biblical method of discerning God’s will.  Gideon already knew God’s will, he was merely second-guessing it.

Gideon is not my example. Jesus said on two occasions that “a wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign” (Matthew 12:39; 16:1-4). His point was that the signs He had already given them—His fulfillment of Old Testament  prophecy, healings, and miracles—were sufficient to respond to the  truth.

Many times i have received enough information without the sign of a fleece. God told him he would have victory, and He had responded to a previous request for a sign with a display of power in fire. Still, Gideon asked for two more signs because of his own insecurity. When God does provide the sign i ask for, it doesn’t give me what i crave because my faith still doubts. That often leads me to ask for multiple  signs, none of which give me the assurance i need, because the problem isn’t with God’s power, it’s with my perception of it.

As a disciple of Christ, i have two powerful tools that Gideon lacked. First, i have the complete Word of  God which is “God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy  3:16-17). i do not need proof  (signs, voices, miracles) to verify what He has already told me in His Word. my second advantage over Gideon is that as a disciple of Christ i have the Holy Spirit, who is God Himself, residing in my heart to guide, direct, and encourage.

i can be content to know God’s will for my life in every situation every day: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly” (Colossians  3:16); “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all  circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians  5:16-18); “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the  name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17). If  these things characterize my life, the decisions i make will be in accordance with God’s will. He will bless me with His peace and assurance, and there will be no need to put out fleeces or ask for signs.

God’s will is a hot topic among Christians, and theories abound. My own view, for what it’s worth, is that God’s will is actually pretty simple to discern: act like a disciple of Christ!  In everyday matters such as career, where to live, what kind of car to drive and such, follow my heart with my eyes on the Father so i will “be” all things honest in all.

Was God delayed in doing what He wanted to do because of Gideon’s doubt and fear. i know God’s timing is perfect so wouldn’t that mean that when He spoke to Gideon He was ready to move? And if He was I am also aware that God works all things for the good of those who love Him so it still works out to the good but…. was it the best? What about Gideon hearing God , needing no signs and he accepts and acts on it IMMEDIATELY? Maybe God built-in a cushion knowing what Gideon would do?

Judges 6:37 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 shall know that You will deliver Israel by my hand, as You have said. And it was so. When he rose early next morning and squeezed the dew out of the fleece, he wrung from it a bowlful of water.”

Here’s what stands out to me and i preface that with… just because it stands out  to me does not give it any authority.

Gideon did not put the fleece out to determine God’s will.  He already knew what God’s will was.  He had been told by the angel, and he even subtly acknowledged it with the phrase “as you have promised.”  Gideon knew what God wanted him to do, yet he did the fleece thing anyway.

The fleece was a sign of unbelief.  Gideon had already received a miraculous sign from God to prove that He was going to give Gideon victory and deliver Israel.  Yet, perhaps because of the response of his own townsmen, Gideon doubted.  He had to have another sign.  And then yet another.  In other words, Gideon knew God’s will but didn’t believe it.  “Putting out a fleece” was not a method of determining God’s will, it was an act of faithlessness because Gideon didn’t trust that God would do what He had already promised.

The fleece was a request for a miraculous sign.  It was not simply a request for events to go a certain way.  Gideon wanted something to happen that was contrary to the usual pattern of nature, i.e. a miracle.  It was not a request for a “sign” of the type “if my dog barks within the next half hour, then i’ll know the answer.”  Gideon’s request would be more along the lines of “if my duck barks, then i’ll know the answer.”

God graciously did as Gideon asked, and in the morning the fleece was wet enough to produce a bowl of water when it was wrung out. So… end of story right? Wrong, nothing changed for Gideon. He had no more assurance, no more faith than he did at the start. God showed up and Gideon was somewhere else. Gideon’s faith was so weak that he asked God for another sign—this time to keep another fleece dry while making the surrounding dirt wet. Again, God  complied, and FINALLY Gideon was convinced that God meant what He said and that the nation of Israel would have the victory that the angel of the Lord had promised.

All that said, was there a delay?

Then the Angel of the Lord reached out the tip of the staff that was in His hand, and touched the meat and the unleavened cakes, and there flared up fire from the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened cakes.

That’s pretty convincing to me and kinda sorta seems to be for Gideon, “And when Gideon perceived that He was the Angel of the Lord,

Gideon said, Alas, O Lord God!  i have felt that way, as though to say it’s about time Lord. Yes i’m aware that His timing is perfect but there are those times when it doesn’t seem so. i wish i could tell everyone how to stop those feelings but i’ve not found the answer. Gideon continues, “For now I have seen the Angel of the Lord face to face!” Face to face would be a confidence builder for sure.

Perceive: to become aware of, or identify by means of the senses. It has always been my belief that my senses can change in the blink of an eye, the things i can see, hear, taste, touch and smell and therefore are not a sound basis for acting on anything. As for becoming aware perhaps that’s why i miss God. To busy, to distracted, to whatever… keeps me from being aware. God is always at work around me , but it’s up to me to be aware!

So much for Gideon’s perception. “Then Gideon took ten men of his servants and did as the Lord had told him, but because he was too afraid of his father’s household and the men of the city to do it by day, he did it by night.” There is such a thing as being prudent (wise or judicious in practical affairs) but it doesn’t come from a place of doubt and fear.

i have said for years that God, the Son nor the Holy Spirit ever take possession of a person and make them do anything. i need more research before commenting further about this but for now i will stand corrected, verse 34, But the Spirit of the Lord clothed Gideon with Himself and took possession of him, and he blew a trumpet, and [the clan of] Abiezer was gathered to him.

Verse 36, “And Gideon said to God, If  You will deliver Israel by my hand as You have said.” There’s that “If” word again which really says, i perceive but i’m not absolutely sure. Fear and doubt still very much a part of Gideon’s life. How about removing the word if? “You will deliver Israel by my hand as You have said.” That’s sounds like a confession of faith rather than doubt.

Gideon continues in perception verses knowing and says to God, “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 shall know that You will deliver Israel by my hand, as You have said.” While i have never used a fleece in the way Gideon did i have used what amounts to a fleece in other ways. Times when i have said, “If (oops) it’s a God thing then the money will be there and then i will do it.”

Gideon questions, “If the Lord is with us,” What? May i just ask, “What about the evil done in the sight of the Lord?” Then he asks why? Seriously, WHY? The clear answer… because of evil done in the sight of the Lord.  Situations, circumstances, trials, tribulations that surround and overtake me are a result of my inner spiritual strength not being able to sustain me. Gideon tries to pass himself and his people off as victims. No sign of repentance or accepting responsibility for previous behavior. Simply “If.”

But for the patience of God!!! “The Lord turned to him and said, Go in this your might, and you shall save Israel from the hand of Midian. Have I not sent you?”

After 70 years under the thumb of the Midianites Gideon’s seems to have lost hope or at least touch with reality and he asks, “Oh Lord, how can I deliver Israel? Behold, my clan is the poorest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.”

Boo hoo, poor me, i am a victim here God. God does not let him slide, “Have I not sent you? Gideon, did you not hear what I said?” “Go in this YOUR might and YOU shall save Israel.” There are times when i listen but do not actually hear what is said. Ann Marie will attest to that. This must be Gideon’s problem. God asks “did you not hear what i said?”

“The Lord then says to him, Surely I will be with you, and you shall smite the Midianites as one man.” i think i would have paid a little more attention to those two little words, like as what do you mean “as one man?” Gideon let’s that slide right on by and says, “If now I have found favor in Your sight, then show me a sign that it is You Who talks with me.” Oh my goodness, nothing but fear and doubt! God is being so patient, again with “IF?” “If now,” It should read, since now i have found favor in your sight, because i have repented, from doing evil in the sight of the Lord.

Gideon needs a sign to be sure it’s God’s voice and that he understood His directions. He says, “Do not leave here, I pray You, until I return to You and bring my offering and set it before You. And He said, I will wait until you return (PATIENCE). Then Gideon went in and prepared a kid and unleavened cakes of an ephah of flour. The meat he put in a basket and the broth in a pot, and brought them to Him under the oak and presented them. And the Angel of God said to him, Take the meat and unleavened cakes and lay them on this rock and pour the broth over them. And he did so. Then the Angel of the Lord reached out the tip of the staff that was in His hand, and touched the meat and the unleavened cakes, and there flared up fire from the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened cakes.

Now that’s a sign, right? “Then the Angel of the Lord vanished from his sight.”

After looking at casting lots it only seems right to look at fleeces. The idea of “using a fleece” comes  from the story of Gideon, in Judges 6. To understand the idea of a fleece i felt it necessary to understand the man and the circumstances surrounding it.

Verse 1 But the Israelites did evil in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord gave them into the hand of Midian for seven years. What a way to start out. Seven years is a long time and my mind immediately begins to search… what, if anything, evil have i done in the sight of the Lord?

Verse 6 And Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites, and the Israelites cried to the Lord. Seven years of the enemy encamping against them and destroy the crops as far as Gaza and leave no nourishment for Israel, and no ox or sheep or donkey. For they came up with their cattle and their tents, and they came like locusts for multitude; both they and their camels could not be counted. So they wasted the land as they entered it.

The Israelites knew what was acceptable in the sight of God and simply chose to do otherwise! Humm… been there and done that. Verse 8 – 9 The Lord sent a prophet to the Israelites, who said to them, Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, I brought you up from Egypt and brought you forth out of the house of bondage. And I delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians and out of the hand of all who oppressed you, and drove them out from before you and gave you their land.

Seven years is a long time in any day and age and under the conditions that Israel was living, they must have forgotten. another hummmmmm… have i forgotten things regarding how God has delivered me?

The prophet had more to say, And I said to you, I am the Lord your God; fear not the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But you have not obeyed My voice.

Forget everything else and tell me why are you not obeying my voice! What answer is there for me in those situations? Anything i would say would simply be an excuse. An Angel of the Lord comes.

“And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him/Gideon and said to him, The Lord is with you, you mighty man of [fearless] courage.”

That makes me chuckle. Early on in my walk in the Word Ann Marie would speak those types of thing to me. I’d wake up at night with her praying over me. She’d call me the spiritual head of the household, which i knew i was not. She was calling those things which were not.

“And Gideon said to him, O sir, if the Lord is with us, why is all this befallen us? And where are all His wondrous works of which our fathers told us, saying, Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt? But now the Lord has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian.