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Gideon and His Fleece: A Bad Move?

Gideon and His Fleece: A Bad Move?

By Shara Weiss

Rick (my husband) told me about the story of Gideon’s fleece one night as I was falling asleep. He wanted to offer our truck to God, putting God in charge of its sale. When it sold, we’d know that the timing was right for moving out of state. We already knew the Lord was calling us to ministry but we had a few conflicting ideas about the precise timing. Rick wanted God to tell us the moment to begin packing and the only thing holding us back, from moving, was the sale of our truck. Rick said, “Let’s put this in God’s hands and allow God to choose when it sells, okay? Then we’ll know it’s time to pack and look for a new place to live.” Rather than rushing off to move, in our own timing, he wanted confirmation.

I didn’t argue with that; it seemed quite logical and reasonable to me. While telling this story to another Believer, however, eyebrows were raised. I wanted to know why. At this point I hadn’t read the story yet and knowing that my husband is a very rational and humble man with a background in theology and ministry, I wanted to know what he had done wrong. Was there an issue that I needed to be made aware of?

In conversation with someone, it was brought to my attention that “testing God” is something we should avoid doing.

Were we “testing God” with the truck sale? It didn’t feel that way. In fact, we had made the decision based on our desire to see God in charge of the timing – not us. I hadn’t personally read the story, though, so I went to sit down and I sifted through the text.

It’s a very short story. I looked for a sign that God was angry with Gideon for what he did, but there was no such result. God granted Gideon’s request with the fleece, patiently and calmly. Why would He do that if Gideon was in the wrong?

I asked my husband, “What’s going on with this story? Why do some people think this is a negative story? Why do some folks, Online, write about Gideon having a lack of faith?”

Rick said, “Shara. Gideon was a very humble man. He couldn’t believe that God would choose him for something so grand. He wanted proof that it wasn’t in his own mind that he should do something that important. He considered himself the least of the least and didn’t know why God would call Him to a big task. He didn’t put out the fleece with malice in his heart or with the intent of proving God wrong. He put the fleece out as a safety measure because he wasn’t quite sure he was really being called to a task so important. God knew his heart and He granted the request.”

Unlike Ananias and Saphira who were testing God in order to get away with something, Gideon received different results from God, didn’t he? After reading over the story and praying it through I believe that Rick is correct. God knows the heart and he searches the heart for intent. He searches the heart for malice and deceit and He responds accordingly. I like Gideon a lot, after understanding his motives. His motives were pure, I believe. He was a humble “nobody” who couldn’t believe the maker of the Universe would call upon someone insignificant to do something big. He likely wanted clear and solid verification to be sure he was hearing correctly; to know that he was not a false leader of his own making.

Perhaps if more people asked God for confirmation, fewer cults would exist. When the spirit of antichrist comes upon some men and women, they quickly assume they have been chosen to harbor special knowledge and they respond by starting a cult that explicitly denies the deity of Christ. If these people asked God to confirm what they were hearing or dreaming or seeing in visions, God could swoop in to say, “Read the Bible. If you hear something that goes against My Word, refuse to come into agreement with the enemy and that’s that. Send the demon back to hell without delay. Now, good night. Sleep tight.”

Cult avoided. Millions of sheep not led astray.

I wish more folks were like Gideon, in fact, asking for confirmation before assuming. “Dear Lord. I am hearing big things about my destiny. Please confirm them before I run off to carry this out. I need to be sure You are backing me in this and that it is, in fact, Your will. I need to be certain that I’m hearing from you, Lord, and not from the enemy (setting me up), for I do not want to bow to his kingdom – only Yours. Thanks ever so much.” We each muddle through the day sifting out three voices (or thoughts): our own, those of God, and those of the enemy. Prior to agreeing with big thoughts or actions, it would be much safer to ask the Lord for clarification and confirmation. I view this as wisdom – not a lack of faith.

Here was the kicker for me: As I prayed I felt the Lord move me to search the word “Gideon” in the New Testament. He reminded me that often times, the apostles mentioned names from the Old Testament – either as warnings of what not to do, or as statements of praise. I looked up Gideon’s name in the New Testament and sure enough, there was a verse, praising Gideon for being a man of faith:

By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient. And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. Hebrews 11:31-34

God was very gentle with Gideon in His response. Gideon was not condemned, nor was he reprimanded. He wasn’t killed and in fact, following his request for confirmation, God gave him the victory. God knew his heart. God always knows the motives of our heart. If we are asking God for verification because we worry that rushing in will cause catastrophic results (such as leading others into danger), and we want to be sure we are moving inside God’s will, I believe God will grant our request, knowing that our motives are pure. Perhaps He will even respect the fact that we are slow to assume we’ve been supernaturally chosen for something impressive.

In a world full of fallible people claiming to be the mouthpieces of God Almighty, I personally want more Gideons.

Confirmation affirmed: After putting our truck up for sale, the Lord held things off for about three months. On June 26 of 2013 a friend of mine came back into my life and at that time, God called Rick and I to a new ministry journey. We spent the year training, waiting for God to send us back to Oregon in order to start our new path. After attempting to sell our truck for three months, it finally sold. And can you guess the date on which it sold? June 26, 2014. Precisely one year, to the day, that our year-long ministry training began. There is more to this story and if you’d like the full details click here: Truck’n Along (Thanks!)

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Published by Shara Weiss

Shara is a writer, social media marketer, content provider, and marketing consultant. In addition to the work she does alongside Rick, she has run since 2009. Shara has a background in education, early childhood, teaching, ministry, and volunteerism.

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