This is a short passage about Gideon, or as his pal’s called him Jerubbaal. Yet another Judge sent by God to deliver Israel. He got his nickname by following the Lord’s instructions and pulled down the altar to baal. He seemed to take direction from the Lord pretty straight, well that is until it looked like it was time for war.
Then he wanted to make sure, double sure that this is indeed what the Lord intended. So he sets up a little test for the almighty. If there is dew on a fleece but not on the threshing floor then he said, “I know you will deliver Israel by my hand.”
Next morning sure enough, wet fleece, dry ground. But that wasn’t enough for good ol’ Gideon, so he inverts the test, if dew settles on the ground but not the fleece, then I will know for sure. Next morning bingo, dry fleece and our man Gideon is set more or less to kick some Midianite backside.
The rest of the story in chapter 7 is pretty awesome too, you should read it, but this passage makes me think. In Deuteronomy 6 we hear the words “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” Then Jesus says the same thing in Matthew 4, so the idea of testing the Lord God bothers me a bit as I read the story.
But after reflecting a bit, how often do we set out and do what is right in our eyes, even thinking that it is good and holy without testing it, without seeking wise council from the faithful before we act?
There is a common maxim that goes; “it is easier to ask forgiveness than permission.” I don’t by into that so much, forgiveness is expensive, it costs, just ask Jesus, our forgiveness cost him everything. Maybe in this light Gideon was seeking permission more than anything else, he was double checking and once done God showed how right he was when only 300 were used to drive the Midianites out.
What do you need to lay your fleece out for? Where do you seek affirmation, council and input in your life? Maybe those are good questions for us today.