Is there ever a situation where it is okay for Christians to “put out a fleece” in order to confirm God’s will like Gideon?
The account of Gideon’s fleece can be found in Judges 6:36-40. Gideon was a man who was very fearful. He didn’t see the great warrior and leader in himself that God saw in him. God already promised that he would save Israel by Gideon’s hand (Judges 6:36) but he still wanted proof.
I suppose we could be harsh with him and say, “Why can’t you just trust what the Lord has told you?” But this is how timid Gideon was. Instead of just the word of the Lord he wanted to see something impossible happen.
So he set out two fleeces. The first fleece he wanted God to soak with the morning dew while leaving the rest of the ground dry. Anyone who walks outside first thing in the morning knows that dew is on the ground anywhere you walk. But the next day when Gideon awoke, he found the fleece soaked with the morning dew, and the ground completely dry.
But this wasn’t enough for him. He asked the Lord if he would do the reverse. This time he asked for the ground to be soaked with the morning dew while the fleece was completely dry (Judges 6:39). I want to point out that Gideon knew he was testing the Lord.
Look at the way he talks to the Lord (Judges 6:39). He knows that God can be angry with him for asking another test of the Lord. The word of the Lord wasn’t enough. But he had detested. And the Lord allowed the test and responded in the test.
But he knew he was stretching it when he asked the second time. He also knew he was testing the Lord because he says, “Please let me test just once more with the fleece.” And the Lord allowed it probably because he knew Gideon’s heart and how fearful he was.
It’s just like the Lord to take such a fearful person with such low self-esteem and use him for his glory. We know that God gets the glory for everything Gideon did in his leadership because Gideon could not do it in his own power or strength. God uses us out of our weaknesses.
Later he would use only 300 men to fight the Midianites instead of the thousands that showed up to fight under Gideons leadership. God is making a distinct point that no matter how weak we are or how strong we think we are, he receives the glory for every victory in our lives.
So let us asked the question about God allowing Gideon to test him with fleeces. Gideon lives during the Old Testament times even before the Law of Moses. I don’t want to say that God had different standards but he did operate differently with Old Testament saints then with New Testament ones.
I think the biggest change between the days of Gideon and our days as Christians today is that we have God’s Holy Spirit dwelling inside of us. Another example of the change is from Acts 1 to Acts 2. In Acts 1 the leadership of the church prays to God that uses the practice of casting lots would take the twelve th apostle position.
But notice from the Day of Pentecost onward in the entire New Testament when the church needs God’s leadership they simply pray and ask the Spirit. God’s Spirit tells the church exactly what he wants them to do. Then never again rely on casting lots to hear from God.
In the same way, Gideon used the fleece to confirm God’s word. But today we walk in the power not only his words but also his Spirit. All we have to do is ask the Lord and he will answer us. If we are timid or fearful,
I don’t think he would take great offense to “putting out a fleece” but it’s also not necessary because of the immense power he has placed in each of us and the vivid relationship we have with him through the Holy Spirit and the Scriptures. Gideon didn’t have all of these weapons and tools at his disposal.