Laying the Fleece Before God (Testing to know/verify God’s Will)

Discussion in 'Bible Study' started by Siloam, May 14, 2017.

  1. Judges 6:16-22; 6:36-40 [ NASB ]

    [16] But the Lord said to him, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat Midian as one man.”

    [17] So Gideon said to Him, “If now I have found favor in Your sight, then show me a sign that it is You who speak with me.

    [18] Please do not depart from here, until I come back to You, and bring out my offering and lay it before You.” And He said, “I will remain until you return.”

    [19] Then Gideon went in and prepared a young goat and unleavened bread from an ephah of flour; he put the meat in a basket and the broth in a pot, and brought them out to him under the oak and presented them.

    [20] The angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and the unleavened bread and lay them on this rock, and pour out the broth.” And he did so.

    [21] Then the angel of the Lord put out the end of the staff that was in his hand and touched the meat and the unleavened bread; and fire sprang up from the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened bread. Then the angel of the Lord vanished from his sight.  

    [22] When Gideon saw that he was the angel of the Lord, he said, “Alas, O Lord God! For now I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face.”

    . . .

    [36] 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.

    Gideon is an example of a reluctant follower of God, being fearful but still wanting to follow God. His reaction is to be very sure that it is God that is asking him to fight the Midianites.

    In the first case, he asks for a sign. An angel of the Lord performs a sign (Consuming meat and bread in a fire coming from the rock when the food was touched with a staff). The angel having performed his task departs (vanishes).

    This first sign encourages Gideon who, along with 10 of his servants destroys the alter to Baal. Gideon was still a little fearful, and waited for the cover of darkness, but he succeeded (see verse 27).

    Having seen the small success in tearing apart the alter to Baal, it was still not enough for Gideon to feel comfortable in battling the Midianites directly. So, Gideon asks for another sign:

    While he let the Lord choose the first sign with the meat and bread, but this time Gideon specified what sign he _required_. He put a fleece on a threshing floor. His requirement was that in the morning the floor would remain dry, but the fleece would be wet. And the Lord caused this to occur as Gideon had asked.

    But, even this wasn’t enough. Gideon asked that the Lord not be angry, but that the next night Gideon wanted the reverse (in the morning the fleece should be dry, while the ground have dew).

    Not exactly the same, but in Acts 1:21-26 the apostles chose Matthias by drawing lots. Presumably relying on God to make the choice and cause the correct lot to be drawn.

    In both cases God is expected to cause something to happen beyond the normal cause/effect working of His universe in order to make His will known.
    Ok, so what do you think about this as a general way of seeking the will of God?

    Are we to pray things like “Lord, if you truly want me to do thus and so than show me by doing something extraordinary”?
    inquiring mind and Abdicate say Amen and like this.
  2. Hi Siloam,

    Thank you For this thread. It's a good question you have posed.

    From my understanding, because we have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us, we are to be spirit led and not outward sign led.

    Depending upon outward signs is dangerous, because it can be manipulated by the enemy.

    Gideon did not have the Holy Spirit, nor did he trust God, his people (the israelites) were not actively following God, and his tribe was the weakest tribe.. at the time prior to their calling out to Him in desperation to rescue them. They did evil in Gods eyes and is the reason why they were in the position they were in. And in acts 1 ... it was before the Holy Spirit came and indwelt them all, before pentecost.

    God bless
    CoffeeDrinker, inquiring mind and Siloam says Amen and like this.
  3. A N.T believer has no business throwing out a fleece prayer.
    1. We are to be Spirit Led
    2 We are to hear and know His voice
    3 satan will have no problem obliging your fleece prayer.

    Most Dangerous way to live right up there looking for signs for answers
    inquiring mind, Cturtle and Siloam says Amen and like this.
  4. Jesus gave many signs and was well aware that without faith lots of people were sill not satisfied. So have faith first and you will receive any sign you need.
  5. So, here are my thoughts.

    God speaks to us in many ways. Most, if closely examined, are variations on the theme of the Holy Spirit guiding our thoughts. I meditate on an issue, and my thoughts are directed to a passage of scripture or a book I have been reading. Or, as I talk with others, they say/do something that triggers an insight that it would seem unlikely for me to gain otherwise.

    Some have more direct communication. I neither doubt them, nor does my faith stand on their experiences.

    This is the Lord speaking, but it is not in reality the same. At least not to the same degree.

    There are a couple of considerations in the case of Gideon:

    [1] It did not start at Gideon’s behest. Gideon did not start by considering whether he should lead the People, and then inquire as to whether this was the Lord’s will.

    Instead, the Lord had already chosen Gideon, and had already told Gideon via His angel, in general terms that he was to be the ‘Lord’s valiant warrior.’ Gideon’s insistence on signs could be taken to be a lack of faith. At the least, it is reminiscent of Moses’ incredulity at the Lord’s calling him. Understandable, but not particularly to be emulated. But, Gideon desired signs because He did not take God at His Word.

    [2] The signs that the Lord gave was not just a matter that could be described as even the most incredible coincidence. Whether it is fire coming out of a stone to consume bread and meat or, opposite results concerning the distribution of dew over successive nights, these could not be attributed to chance, or other ‘normal’ processes (by the way, Gideon’s tests with the fleece almost constitute a controlled scientific experiment).

    As far as consideration #1, the difference is telling. We are not to hold up figurative hoops for our Lord to figuratively jump through.

    For consideration #2, While there have been cases both here and in other scriptures where the Lord acquiesced to the limitations of man’s faith, but it is not something to be emulated. The natural laws (part of general revelation) are designed to reflect His nature. Asking Him to nullify them, even temporarily, without the greatest need -- the test for which should be passing consideration #1, where God has deemed it necessary -- seems conflicted to me.

    All in all, since Pentecost, and later the canonization of Scripture, there are better ways of determining God’s will.

    You have had and continue to have my great respect.

    While I may agree that the Lord was communicating with you is a very strong way, it was not really the same kind of occurrence by either of the criteria outlined above as: by your description you initiated the experience: As we're driving, fear walloping my heart, thoughts flying through my mind, I said out loud, in desperate panic voice to silence the thoughts plaguing me, "Lord, If she's really from You, have her raise her hand." In order for this to fit the Gideon mold, as I pointed out, the Lord would have unambiguously pointed her out to you and you would have then required more than the Lord’s direction to accept it.

    As far as consideration #2, it is quite likely that she was praying on the way back. Many pray with their hands lifted to the sky. Yes, it is a little striking that it happened just at that moment, and the leading of the Lord may have been involved, but not supernaturally so. That also would mean that the Lord imposed His will on her in a manner much more invasive than normal leading of the Spirit. ( I would also hope that either she was not driving, or only one hand was lifted ).

    More could also be said of other aspects of your testimony. Please believe me when I say I am not trying to belittle any portion of it. More, that there are specific differences between your experience and a true fleece experience.
    inquiring mind and Fish Catcher Jim say Amen and like this.
  6. Good thoughts my friend

    inquiring mind likes this.
  7. You look confused…

    Maybe because I acknowledged your seeking the Lord’s confirmation of your feeling, followed by Him honoring your request and providing the confirmation you request and yet I see it as different from Gideon and his fleece.

    Perhaps it is more that I am growing more and more wary of this kind of asking to know God’s will.

    As I indicated, a large part of a true Gideon fleece type of experience is that God initiates the action. This is because when we initiate the action, we tend to constrain the answer way too much. We ask for an unambiguous answer (yes or no) when the answer may be that we asked the wrong question!

    For example, consider a decision my wife and I are making and wish to know God’s will in the matter (this is really happening):

    For many reasons we are agreed that we need to sell the house we are in and move to another location in the state. I may pray and say “Lord, if you wish me to make this move, guide us in finding a buyer for (or otherwise disposing) our current home a new home as well as finding a new home”.

    This neatly combines the question and His answer with His desires for our response.

    But, if we have problems selling or cannot find a suitable place in the area we have selected, can we assume that it is not God’s will?
    What if He is really teaching us patience and persistence in following His lead?
    Or, what if he really wants us to move to a different place?
    Or, that He will use us wherever we happen to be, but that our concern for His will should be in regard to other things in our lives?

    Our fleece question covered none of these.

    And, whatever happens regarding finding a buyer, or a new home, since these are not really remarkable occurrences, what real assurances will there be that it is from the Lord and not just happenstance?

    Many Christians, including myself have asked for this kind of answer. The more I consider it, and remember the things the Lord has guided me through, and the times I tried to present the Lord with Yes/No questions or multiple choice questions, the more I come to the conclusion that I am better off listening moment by moment for His leading where He wills.
    Cturtle and Fish Catcher Jim say Amen and like this.

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