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Does Gideon’s Fleece System Still Work? — 16 Comments

  1. Am also reminded of the chief servant of Abraham in Gen 24:12-14.12 “O Lord, God of my master, Abraham,” he prayed. “Please give me success today, and show unfailing love to my master, Abraham. 13 See, I am standing here beside this spring, and the young women of the town are coming out to draw water. 14 This is my request. I will ask one of them, ‘Please give me a drink from your jug.’ If she says, ‘Yes, have a drink, and I will water your camels, too!’—let her be the one you have selected as Isaac’s wife. This is how I will know that you have shown unfailing love to my master.”
    Apart from revealing His will, Good also uses the "fleece" to strengthen our faith in Him.

  2. One of the problems with applying the "Fleece Test" today is that many people already know what God's answer is but they just do not want to accept it. They want their own way instead. Sometimes I think that God responds, with a sense of humor, to some of these tests that people set, "Go and use your own brain! Now that would be a miracle!"

    There is nothing wrong with asking God's guidance, but do not be surprised if he answers your prayer by letting you work it out for yourself. God works in mysterious ways!

  3. I realize that from childhood we have always looked up to Gideon as a hero, almost a superman of sorts so that when he lays out the fleece it is only a matter of confirmation. However, a careful reading of the entire account of Gideon’s life paints another picture, one of just an ordinary person, a farmer, who acted more like a coward than a hero. That is important as we consider God’s willingness to go through the nonsense of two tests when Gideon knew what God wanted him to do.

    To me it is similar but not exactly like Abram asking for confirmation concerning God’s promise to him (Gen 15:3-8). So I don’t think God minds being questioned. What I do think bothers God is when we fully well know what the answer is and because of it we try to circumvent a clear direction. But, then, there are cases like Gideon’s when God is very patient and mindful of His sheep being what they are.

    • Given the condition of faith in Israel at that time, Gideon, who was probably born into the apostasy, was wanting to remove all possible assumptions, and doubted only that God would actually call HIM to such an important task. When Moses hesitated God gave Him signs, and Gideon was only wanting to be certain that he understood God's intentions without presumption.

      God was well-acquainted with the one He was dealing with and gave no rebuke to Gideon, but complied with Gideon's humble and contrite request. Gideon apologized for his need, but just had to be certain as his faith was being encouraged by God.

      I have always seen Gideon as a humble individual who did not seek position or power, but wanting to be sure of his course. This is why God COULD use him. The fact that God sent Gideon down into the enemy camp to help encourage him further tells us much about God's compassionate understanding of the man He had called. Whatever his faults, Gideon was the man of God's choosing. The results of Gideon's cultivated faith and continued meekness and diplomacy in the wake of the victory say much about his true character at that time.

  4. Elizabeth, You bring up a very good point. We are counselled to pray much, very much about marriage. Maurice, you are exactly right, many times we pray when we already know the answer we just want to pretend we don't because it is contrary to us. Even Jesus prayed "If it is possible let this cup pass from me, but never the less, thy will not mine be done." That is the prayer we all should pray.

  5. William you are very right in pointing out our need to examine our motives in prayer. However, I think you are misinterpreting Gideon's motives in fleecing. I think you need to look more closing at Gideon's character and see how that plays against clear cut angelic demonstrations put before him. Remember, according to the bible, Gideon physically saw the angel of the LORD, had a physical conversation issued(as physical as you reading my writing right now), prepared a sacrifice, the angel showed him how to prepare it, and then the whole sacrifice was consumed by fire. This was not a vision or a dream; it was live and in daylight.
    This scripture demands a different interpretation than the one you put across. Even in the face of all this, I still agree with you that we need to examine our motives in prayer.

  6. Thank you Watson for your comment and I don't think we are really far off from each other. Even though Gideon was not seeing a vision, as Maurice and Tyler point out, Abraham was not seeing a vision either even though he questioned God. It was Gideon's character and humility that made him second guess himself. Even though it was not a vision Moses still questioned His calling and so did Gideon. The sentence in Patriarchs and Prophets Page 548 says, " Gideon dared not place himself at the head of the army without still further evidence that God had called him to his work." So Gideon knew for sure God was talking to him and there would be an army but the Gideon's question was "Did God really say I would be at the head of the army or was I just hearing things or was it just what I thought I heard?" Remember Watson, while the disciples walked with Jesus they still heard what they wanted to hear, and even though they were humble men of trade like Gideon a lot of what they thought they heard was quite ambitious. According to the Scriptures and Patriarch and Prophets Gideon was a very humble man. I think that is what you are talking about as far as his character. It is the humble people though who are always questioning their motives and making sure they are not doing things out of self ambition or pride. Proud people never question their pride.

    By the way on a side note, and maybe I just noticed this from being a Bible Worker, but when studying and discussing Scripture with people. I try to avoid making absolute statements, such as "This Scripture demands a different interpretation than the one you put across." I find it works better if I say, "That is not how I see it" or "In my humble opinion I don't think that is what that passage is saying." I can tell by your comment and previous comments that you are very sincere and mean well so I thought I would just share a little of my experience over the years.

    • The fact that Gideon destroyed the altar and image of Baal under cover of darkness reveals a budding faith and courage(probably instilled by the visit of the heavenly Messenger), which is still faith(Mark 4:26-29). His requests for a specific signs, given with the deepest humility reveal his character further, as well as his desire to move forward with perfect understanding of God's will, (not his very possible misunderstanding of it) as does his obedience to all God's following directions as the "small" army was whittled down to almost nothing. When the moment of the battle arrived, Gideon and his 300 did not flinch, and were expecting total victory by God's hand. Remember, they carried only trumpets, lamps, and empty earthen pitchers into battle, against swords, spears, shields and arrows, outnumbered 450 : 1.

      There is no question in my mind about Gideon's faith and humility as revealed in God's Word, and it has always been a great encouragement to me.

  7. In the times of great challenge in our lives- a cancer diagnosis, guidance during wartime, financial hardship, and personal betrayal- God sometimes sees fit to give us unusual manifestations of His presence and loving guidance. We can look at our own manifestations of God's angels in our lives and take hope in His miraculous guidance. Only twice have I asked for a sign, once right before I was diagnosed with cancer, many years ago, I asked for a rainbow, and it was given, not in the sky but by a little girl handing me a picture she had drawn of one. I felt God was saying, yes, things would be all right, not through a direct miracle, but through His using people to heal me. Her father, a physician, was instrumental in my recovery. So we may ask for signs, but although He may give signs or miraculous providences, they may come in unexpected ways and He may work in other ways than we have planned. "Often our plans fail, that God's plans for us may succeed." EG White

  8. Gideons' Fleece system really does work even today. In times when it is difficult to discern what God's will for you is when you are challenged to choose one among options that are 'good' in themselves, it is important to seek his guidance. Our father needs us to rely on his guidance and will not be offended when we ask him for a sign. I have asked God to direct my path in so many situations and as He did for Gideon He has done for me. He has manifested His will in my life so much that I will not make any decision without consulting Him and confirming that indeed it is the direction He chooses me to take. I would encourage all to not 'assume' but 'confirm' His will by inquiring of Him. Nothing we ask of Him is too small or unimportant to Him that we should be afraid to present it.

  9. One thing is to genuinely look for God's guidance and another one is to doubt about God. In Gedeon's case, I am sure Gedeon knew what was God talking about, but his fears moved him to confirm what God was asking him to do. Don't we do the same often? On the other hand, it is a delicate issue when we speak for God on life matters. "God does... " "God always..." etc. I would prefer always to hear..."the word of God says..." quoting the Bible instead than speaking for God, is the safest way to helps others to understand God's will.

  10. Most times when iam so much interested in something contrary to the situation on ground,I have to think twice and ask God to do his will for i fear that i might tie myself to something which is wrong,, when God is preparing me the right way to go,,,Is this also fleece??

    Sometimes whenever church leaders would deligate me to do somework,,I would first refuse for i feared ministering to the elders for i knew they would raise dust and ask me questions,,But i would later pray and fast that if it's God's will that i do his work,he should give me a way out and indeed it would happen and the ministry would be successful,,,Is this also a fleece?

  11. I was one time leading a lesson class,,after giving out my explanation and encouraging members to keep the sabbath day Holy as commanded by God,,One church elder who was a visitor stood up and said that explanation wasn't important,, I don't know how the rest perceived it but I almost lost the confidence to continue,,
    I don't know how we should help such people

  12. God does give us wisdom to make our own choices. The problem I (and others) seem to have is that the wisdom is often apparent after the fact rather than before it, usually in the thick of the consequences of the decision. Human brains just do not work the same as the mind of God. So I really understand why Gideon worked hard to determine God’s will in his situation. There was a lot at stake.

  13. I think that we tend to want a 'fleece' as a short cut to learn the will of the LORD. Morris Venden wrote a little book on how to know God's will which I found helpful, in essence he said consider all the following:
    1 be in a committed relationship with the LORD
    2 have no preference, be prepared to accept Gods will
    3 search the Word for specific examples or principles
    4 pray for specific guidance
    5 consult godly trusted friends
    6 consider how God has led you in the past
    7 look out for unusual opening or closing doors
    8 put all the information together and make a decision and step out in faith trusting God will let you know if you got it wrong


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