October 16, 2021
Judges 6:36-38 (NIV)
36 Gideon said to God, “If you will save Israel by my hand as you have promised— 37 look, I will place a wool fleece on the threshing floor. If there is dew only on the fleece and all the ground is dry, then I will know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you said.” 38 And that is what happened. Gideon rose early the next day; he squeezed the fleece and wrung out the dew—a bowlful of water.
39 Then Gideon said to God, “Do not be angry with me. Let me make just one more request. Allow me one more test with the fleece, but this time make the fleece dry and let the ground be covered with dew.” 40 That night God did so. Only the fleece was dry; all the ground was covered with dew.
Everyone wants to know if this is a prescriptive text or a descriptive text. In other words, does it instruct us on how to relate to God in our attempt to discern his will, or does it merely describe how Gideon related to God in this instance?
I believe the text is far more descriptive than prescriptive. Why? If there is one thing we need to remember about Gideon it is where God found him. Threshing wheat in a winepress and saying things like, “if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.” (6:13)
Gideon was far from a paragon of faith. He was an average farmer trying to scratch out a living in a desperate situation. (Note: that is not a knock on farmers) Farmers are my favorite! Gideon was the equivalent of a B-Team benchwarmer on the junior high football team who was not only skipping high school and college but being drafted straight into the NFL. It was a bit beyond absurd. He wasn’t ready for the assignment and his responses tell the story. He wanted to be sure. He needed confirmation. He was desperate for a sign, and another sign, and another sign. And God was so good to give him what he needed. It was a combination of extraordinary set of circumstances and a God who meets us and works with us as he finds us.
Honestly, though, from my reading of Scripture, I don’t think “fleecing” (or putting out a fleece) is the preferred method of discernment of the heart and mind of the God of Heaven and Earth. So what does God want from us?
In a word: maturity.
Our Father wants us to grow up into the deep likeness of his son, Jesus, anchored in his Word, animated by his Spirit, abiding in his presence, attached to his friends and activated in his Kingdom.
I like how Paul puts it in Romans 12:1:
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.
Then he teaches us how to discern the will of God:
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. v.2
Here’s the encouragement: To know the will of God, don’t put out a fleece. Surrender your life to Jesus and become the gloriously incredible person you were put on earth to be. Stop copying the world around you. Be consecrated to the God who would indwell you . . .
One more bit. It’s good to see Gideon out of the winepress and back out on the threshing floor today, even with his fleece. He’s not threshing wheat there yet but he’s making moves. This pleases God. . . every single time. What move will you make today? Let’s encourage one another to stop asking God to show us signs of his readiness and start showing God signs of our readiness. That’s what really thrills God’s heart.
Father, I want maturity. I want to grow up into Christ. I know you aren’t asking me to try harder but rather to simply give myself to you completely and wholeheartedly. I want to live my life in you. I want to be built up in you. I want to be strengthened in you. I want to be who you saw when you created me. Thank you for meeting me where I am and working with what I have. Come Holy Spirit and awaken my spirit to the good, pleasing and perfect will of God. In his name we pray, Amen.
Where are you ready to stop conforming to the broken patterns of the world? How is the Holy Spirit leading you to “be transformed by the renewing of your mind?” What does a “move” look like today? How might you signal God with a sign of your readiness to go to the next place of obedience and faith?
For the Awakening,