In my personal devotions this morning, I read,
Then Gideon said to God, “If you are truly going to use me to rescue Israel as you promised, prove it to me in this way. I will put a wool fleece on the threshing floor tonight. If the fleece is wet with dew in the morning but the ground is dry, then I will know that you are going to help me rescue Israel as you promised.” Judges 6:36-37 NLT
I was reminded of the many times I have been asked if it’s a good idea to set a “fleece” before the Lord? People want a sign as to which way to go, which house to buy, which job to take or so forth. They want to know if it is okay to ask God for a sign. Of course there is nothing wrong with praying for wisdom on all decisions. But that’s just it. Sometimes, instead of giving us direct signs, telling us exactly what to do, God gives us wisdom to make our own choices. Sometimes God really doesn’t care which job we take or house we live in. He can bless us either way. They aren’t really moral decisions, and He can guide us either way.
The purpose of Gideon’s fleece was not so much about a decision of which way to go. God had already told Him what to do. God had told Gideon to lead out in God’s army. Now, Gideon is examining his motives. Did God really call me to lead out, or was it my own selfish ambition talking to me? Am I just doing my own thing claiming its God telling me to do it? So, Gideon set a fleece before God to confirm that it was God calling him and not just his own selfish ambition. Maybe the key to making the right decision is to examine our motives behind the choices we make. Am I doing this for God’s glory or selfish ambition? God can guide us no matter where we live or work so long as our motive is to glorify Him wherever we are. Gideon was testing his own motives. There is nothing wrong with that!
Several years ago, I was experiencing some persecution where I was working. My motives were being misrepresented, which led me to examine them myself. I pleaded with God to open a door and let me go somewhere else. No doors were opening. About this time I signed a new lease for my apartment. while new residents to the apartment complex were offered a months free rent, I was told several times there would be no free rent for me. That was only for new residents. I told them I was signing a new lease though. Still they said again and again, no free rent!
The first month of my new lease I was walking to the rental office to pay my rent. As I walked I prayed, “Lord if you want me to stay at this current job, where I am experiencing persecution for standing up for you, then have them tell me my rent is free this month when I get to the rental office.” After all, maybe I was just standing up for myself and not God? Was I just trying to protect my own position instead of glorifying God? I walked on to the rental office knowing it was a done deal, as I had already been told over and over, there was no free rent for me. I actually forgot my prayer when I came into the office. That is until the lady in the office went to enter my check on the computer, and then handed it back to me and said, “Your rent is free this month.”
God provided an amazing miracle for me! But the miraculous sign was not so much about where to work as it was about making sure I was staying at my job for the right reason, and not just out of self interest. Not long after that the person responsible for my persecution left.
Gideon was not just using a fleece like it was some crystal ball in making random decisions. He used the fleece to make sure his motivation was pure. There is nothing wrong with questioning and examining our motivation, when leading out as Gideon did.
Under the right circumstances, Gideon’s fleece system still works!