Chapter 6 of the book of Judges says that there was only 40 years until the people of God did evil in the sight of the Lord. This cycle, as stated before, repeats itself over and over and over! As a result, they were subjected to another enemy and fled to wherever they could find refuge. That was even caves and strongholds in the mountains. Israel and its produce were destroyed as if grasshoppers swarmed over the land. Then Israel cried unto the Lord.
An angel appeared unto the new judge named Gideon. He complained about the absence of miracles and blessings. He further complained about his own family’s poverty. He was not eager to take the position in which he, with God’s help, could deliver his people.
Gideon made sacrifice unto the Lord more than once. Since he could not get anyone to help him, he tore down at night the altar of Baal, but the men of the city were angered and wanted to kill Gideon. However, he challenged the prophets of the false god to come to their rescue even though it an was empty response.
Then Gideon wanted reassurance from God. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that a believer should follow Gideon’s example. Today people talk about putting out a fleece to know God’s leadership. The Bible says that thou shall not tempt the Lord thy God. To me this appears to be exactly that. He took a fleece of wool and challenged God to make dew come on the fleece but not on the ground around it. The next morning, he found that to be God’s response.
To reassure himself that he was supposed to lead Israel as directed by God, he asked for dew to be on the ground but not on this fleece. That also occurred. Putting out a fleece is not a demonstration of faith, but a demonstration of the lack of faith. This is especially true if we already have God’s directive and then ask him to prove himself.
With this interaction, God showed his mercy and patience. God gave the assurance that Gideon needed. This does not mean God will debate an issue. Let us be clear. There is a major difference between tempting God and needing God’s assurance. That assurance comes from the Holy Spirit and not what today is called putting out a fleece.
Another lesson is in the story. The Bible confirms itself. If God wants us to follow Scripture in some accounts, there will be other verses that confirm it. For instance, when Paul wrote to the Corinthians, he mentioned their practice of baptizing for the dead. He did not say it should be done. He pointed out their practice of baptizing in behalf of the dead. There is no other verse in the Bible that confirms believers to do such an act.
Those who call themselves believers can be willing to do things that are not hard. Doubt makes a difference between obedience and resistance. This was not God’s idea to put out a fleece! Even when we are not in the best spiritual condition, God still had mercy. It is so easy to look on the coming task than it is to keep our eyes on God.
In various verses of the Greek text, the actual translation is not faith but better translated as faithing. If we make, in our thinking, the difference between faith and faithing, we will understand that faith is not a noun or thing. It is an action word! We also must understand that God does not call a group or committee. He calls each individual to step out and be his representative to the world. It is not for us to say to God that we are just one person and the task is too big. When we are faithing, we will know and trust God for whatever task he assigns to us and that could make major difference to a huge number of people.