Sunday, November 21, 2010

God and Polar Fleece

God and Polar Fleece
Nov 22, 2010
Judges 6:39 "Then Gideon said to God, '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."'

God approached a man named Gideon with a task in mind, specifically for Gideon. God wanted Gideon to lead a small army against a large nation in order to defeat Israel's oppressors. Unfortunately, Gideon didn't believe God. Maybe Gideon thought the angel who appeared on God's behalf was feeding him a lie or maybe Gideon simply didn't have the courage to step out. So, Gideon decided to test the word of the Lord with a piece of fleece sitting on dry ground. After the test was passed, Gideon tested the word of the Lord again with the polar opposite, using the same fleece on wet ground. Gideon did this because he was insecure about what the Lord had to say. Gideon identified the angel as a messenger from the Lord, but wasn't willing to receive the message as from God.

If you read the verses preceding the story of the fleece, you will find that Gideon asked the angel for a sign, in an attempt to identify the angel as truly from God. The sign, a rather large sign, was given to Gideon when he made an offering of meat and bread in front of the angel: "Fire flared from the rock, consuming the meat and the bread. And the angel of the LORD disappeared." That was Gideon's first sign and he immediately declared, "Sovereign LORD! I have seen the angel of the LORD face to face!" Gideon knew it was God who sent the angel. He KNEW it was God talking and yet didn't believe in His words (or at least he didn't want to believe). Gideon was insecure with being obedient to the word of the Lord because it was a difficult task, one that took a tremendous amount of faith to believe could come true. He knew it was God talking but still had to test Him with the fleece. If you read Gideon's words, he even asked for forgiveness when he asked to use the fleece the second time. He knew he was testing the patience of God. Thankfully God was patient with Gideon, but testing God is not something we should do on a regular basis, if at all.

Scripture says, "It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'" This was said by Jesus when satan was tempting Him in the wilderness. Jesus said it directly and He was quoting scripture found in Deuteronomy 6:16. In its original meaning in Deuteronomy, this "test" was in reference both to the patience of God and God being true to His word. God has always been true to His word and Gideon didn't believe Him. That is why Gideon asked for forgiveness, he knew he was testing God's patience and God's word. Gideon was wrong to use the fleece the first time and was wrong to use the fleece the second time. Yes, God was patient, but if Gideon recognized it was the Lord, then he should have received what the Lord had to say, regardless of how crazy it sounded.

You and I do this sometimes, hear God and doubt it is Him talking. We hear this voice, knowing it is from the Lord, knowing what we are supposed to do, and yet we are afraid to step out in faith and obey Him. Sometimes we try to test Him to see if it is really from Him and other times we simply squelch the word of the Lord; we drown it out with the realities and business of life. This frustrates the Lord. He desires that we believe Him and trust what He says, no matter how strange or preposterous it sounds. Gideon was insecure about what God had to say, but it did not change God's words. You might be insecure about what you should do, what He has asked of you, but it will not change His desires for you and your life. If you decide not to listen to the word of the Lord, then you miss out on being considered a hero of faith. That's right, even though Gideon didn't believe God at first, he eventually had the faith to believe in what God said would happen. And it did. Because Gideon believed and trusted, Gideon ended up in the Faith Hall of Fame (found in Hebrews 11).

Hear the word of the Lord and believe it the first time. Don't use polar fleece to test the word of God. God desires faith and obedience right away.

1. Have you heard from the Lord but are still waiting for an additional sign?
2. What word of God have you been ignoring, refusing to believe it's God?
3. Is it time to step out in faith, acting on what God has asked of you?

Don't take my word for it; look it up: Deut 6:16, Judges 6, Ps 78:41 & 56, Matt 4:7, Luke 4:12, Heb 11:32

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