Talks for Growing Christians
Gideon Sets Out the Fleece and Asks God for a Sign
Lesson Number 10
- Setting out fleeces is evidence of a weak faith.
- Setting out fleeces comes close to testing God.
- Setting out fleeces leaves room for many doubts.
- Let's not confuse living by fleece with living by faith.
- Review the fourth sin cycle of Israel here in Judges 6. Take it through the five stages: rebellion, retribution, repentance, restoration, rest.
- Gideon had passed the test of faith in destroying the altar to Baal and by raising an altar to the Lord. But before Gideon was willing to plunge into battle, he wanted to make sure the Lord would be with him and give him the victory. What was the sign that Gideon proposed to the Lord?
- How did the Lord respond to Gideon's fleece?
- Should we make a practice of setting out fleeces like Gideon did?
- Stage 1) rebellion - Israel once again wandered away from the Lord (6:1), 2) retribution - God allowed the Midianites to come in and plunder the land for seven years (6:1-2), 3) repentance - the Israelites cried out to the Lord because of the oppression (6:7), 4) restoration - the Lord raised up Gideon to deliver the nation from the hands of the Midianites (6:8), and 5) rest - the country was quiet for forty years in the days of Gideon ( 8:28).
- First he put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor, saying to the Lord, "If there is dew on the fleece only, and it is dry on the ground, then I know You will save Israel as you have said." Then he reversed the plan, asking for a dry fleece and a wet ground.
- He honored Gideon's request for a sign.
- No, even though God has answered at times. Review the doctrinal points and application in this lesson, and relate them to the discuss / consider / challenge portions.
- God had told Gideon that victory over the Midianites was already assured. Gideon asking for signs at this point was evidence of a weak rather than a strong faith. Have you asked for signs from God? Perhaps they were honored, or perhaps not. In any case, a mature Christian who is secure with God's promises, need not ask for signs. Rather, he will simply trust God and take Him at His word.
- Are you testing God by asking Him to do something on your terms? Are you trying to put God in a box of your own making? This is not a true test of what God will do for you. It leaves room for too many doubts.
- Setting out fleeces by definition is asking God to do something miraculous on your terms. This is not the same as asking God to confirm your step of faith on His terms and in His time.
- "The Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon." Judges 6:34
- "Gideon said to God, 'If it is as You have said, then...I shall know." Judges 6:36-37
- "We walk by faith, not by sight." 2 Corinthians 5:7