Tuesday, July 10, 2012

to fleece or not to fleece (Gideon Part 4)


Yes I promise that this is the final thought on Gideon. For now, because Gideon is my hero and, since we all have a little bit of Gideon in us I probably won’t be able to let him go forever.

v. 17 If now I have found favor in your eyes, give me a sign that it is really you talking to me.

v. 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.

v. 39 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.

Three times, three times Gideon asks for a confirmation from the Lord. Do you think maybe he was a tad bit insecure? God, my precious God, he is so patient! …for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. Psalm 103:14

Don’t be afraid to come to God with your insecurities, that is what he is there for. He is there for us because when I am weak he is strong.

I think that Gideon here was not demanding proof from God, but instead asking for reassurance and conformation from God.

I also think that what Gideon was seeking was not the will of God; he knew what the will of God was. God had already told him what to do, AND he told him what the outcome would be. I think that what Gideon was seeking was in essence the same thing that the man with the spirit-possessed son was asking for in Mark 9 when he tells Jesus, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

What I love most about this particular part of the story, is that a few verses after the three requests from Gideon (which God complies with, by the way), God actually chooses on his own initiative to give him yet one more sign. He tells him:

“If you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp with your servant Purah  and listen to what they are saying. Afterward, you will be encouraged to attack the camp.”

Man, he is so sweet!

I have a great marriage. Mike and I are deeply in love, even after 21 years, the love just keeps growing. I have many issues, but thankfully none of my issues and insecurities involves doubt about my husband’s love for me. I have absolute total confidence that he loves me deeply. I never have fears or irrational thoughts of him leaving me for a younger, thinner, more beautiful woman, I just don’t. Don’t get me wrong; I’m never na├»ve enough to think that I’m immune to anything like that happening, because everyone is susceptible to having their life, as they know it, change in an instant. It happens all the time. But really, losing my husband is the last worry on my mind. I have plenty of other things to worry about.  Yet, on a regular basis I reach out to him and ask him this silly question, that of course, I know the answer to.

Do you love me?

Of course he loves me! But in the comings and goings of life I just feel this deep need for his reassuring devotion to me. In the midst of the multiple messages I receive when I glance at the magazines at the grocery check out counter, or when I see commercials on TV that insinuate that what men really want is “this” (you know, the ridiculously sexy, lean, touched up bombshell), it’s good to be reminded that what my man really wants is me. I know it, but I still want to hear it. When the house is dirty or there is no food on the table and I fear his disappointment (which isn’t even there), I want to be reminded that he still loves me, that his love does not hinge on my looks or my performance. I need to hear it.

In the midst of sin and being overtaken by the messages from the enemy that was oppressing him and his people, Gideon needed that reminder that God really was going to save Israel by his hand. And just like Mike is willing to indulge me and tell me that he really, really does love me, and then go above and beyond and also remind me that he thinks I’m beautiful and sexy and the best wife ever, God was willing to indulge Gideon and let him know that he really, really was going to use him to deliver Israel, and then goes above and beyond by sending him to overhear an enemy’s conversation. There, the enemy pretty much declares that they knew that Gideon was going to defeat them! (and don’t you forget that truth girlfriend, the enemy knows he’s screwed!)

Some people may be hard on Gideon, and perhaps rightly so. After all, think about the brave ones that so blindly trusted God even when they had no idea what the outcome was going to be. Like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refusing to bow down to the image of gold knowing good and well that they would be thrown into the fiery furnace. They had no idea if they were going to be saved or not. They did it anyway. Ester decided to go talk to king Xerxes, knowing good and well that she could be put to death for doing so. She did it anyway. David never asked God if he would be able to defeat Goliath! He just went for it.

I tend to have a little more compassion on Gideon though, because I can also think of people like Thomas who believed that Jesus was the Son of God and was his follower for 3 years. He had heard that he was going to die and rise again, but refused to believe that he was alive until he had proof. When Jesus saw him he said,

“Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” John 20:27

Even John the Baptist, toward the end of his life while he was in prison he sent his disciples to Jesus to ask him,

Are you the one who is to come or should we expect someone else?”

As much as we might deserve it, Christ will not chastise us in moments of insecurity and unbelief. He heals the man’s spirit possessed son, he asks Thomas to touch his hands and his side, he sends an answer to John the Baptist, he wets Gideon’s fleece and keeps it dry on the second request.
If “putting down your fleece” is a prayer to Christ to nourish your trust him, and to help you overcome your unbelief, by all means, lay down the fleece, he will be there to let you know-


Yes dear, I really, really do love you. I really, really am going to use you.



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