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The Sign of the Fleece

Last week my boys and I made a video about Gideon from the Book of Judges. If you do not know any of his story, let me give you a brief overview.

The people of Israel did was evil in the eyes of the LORD (again), so He made them suffer under the Midianites for several years. The angel of the LORD visited Gideon and told him he would be the one to save his people, with God always with him. Gideon tests the LORD several times, to prove to himself that God really meant what he said. Gideon destroys the altar of Baal in his hometown and builds a new altar to the LORD. Gideon (well, "the Spirit of the LORD clothed Gideon") gathers 32,000 men from the tribes of Israel to fight the Midianites, but God ends up whittling the army down to just 300 men. This army defeats the Midianite army camped below them by blowing trumpets, breaking jars, flaming torches and shouting. The Midianites ended up fighting each other and running away. (God was the one that actually made them turn on each other.) The rest of the tribes (not the 300) were able to pursue the surviving enemy. Gideon ultimately defeated Midian, and established for his people that the LORD would rule over them (he did not let the people make him a king).

You can find the whole story in Judges 6-8.

I told you that Gideon tests the Lord several times. The angel of the LORD found the man threshing wheat in the family winepress. He was down there to hide from the Midianites. I think Gideon was pretty bold to question God, though, and he did so repeatedly! Gideon could not believe that he was going to be the one that would save his people from their enemies. He said that his clan was the weakest of Manasseh (one of the tribes of Israel) and he, himself, was the least in his own father's house.

Even after several thousand men came to fight with Gideon, he still put God to a strange test. One night, he said he would believe God wanted him to save Israel through his hand if he woke up to a wet piece of fleece and dry ground. After God "passed" that one, Gideon again requested that he woke up to a completely dry fleece (same fleece as before) and wet ground. Again, God "passed" this test and Gideon continued to gather the troops to camp out near the enemies.

I don't know why God did not just say "Gideon, do what I say. I am the LORD your God. I test you. You don't test me." God has always had a plan, and he uses all of us in it. He continued to talk to Gideon, reassuring the man that He was with him, and that Gideon really was the one to carry out the victory. Gideon's lack of faith in himself did not stop God from using him. Gideon's humility ("Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house." Judges 6:15) was what makes his whole story so amazing. His story is really God's story. Gideon puts God to the test, and God passes every time. God told Gideon what to do, and whenever he did those things, it was in Gideon's favor and a blessing to the people of Israel. Whenever he did something on his own, without God's favor, things were not so good.

Gideon (also known as Jerubbaal) was not perfect in anyway. He doubted God's own words that were spoken DIRECTLY to him. He arrogantly killed fellow Israelites (read in Chapter 8). He built an idol out of gold (an ephod made from the spoils of the Midianites), for which all of the people of Israel worshipped, instead of the true God. And, yet, God granted peace to the land for 40 years because of Gideon following Him, at least for a little while.

God may be telling you to do something. Have you given Him any tests lately? "Lord, if X happens, then I will do Y for you. Until then, no."

Deuteronomy 6:16

“You shall not put the Lord your God to the test, as you tested him at Massah.

We have better proof than a wet piece of wool that God will do what He says He will do. We have Jesus Christ! We have the works of the authors of the Holy Bible, and we each have our own, unique testimony as witness to God's love. We should not be giving God any tests, but we should be testing everything else around us. I will finish this post with Scripture written by Paul to the Church in Rome, in the Amplified bible translation. (The words in brackets are the translators explanations).

Romans 12:2 Amplified Bible (AMP)

And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be [a]transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you].

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