A Sign Please!

Judges 6 and 7 is about Gideon.  Israel is in trouble again.  They are living in caves, hiding from enemies and Gideon is threshing wheat in a winepress to trick the enemy. The angel of the Lord appears and blesses Gideon.  “If that is so, why are we struggling?” Gideon asks.  The angel says God is going to use Gideon.  “If that is so, I am the youngest, weakest, least respected – the runt of the litter.”  Have you felt that way?  How could God use you – old, uneducated, not so smart, poor, and the list goes on for why God can’t use a person like me.  But God had chosen Gideon.  Gideon asks for proof, a sign.  We call it a fleece because Gideon laid out a fleece from a sheep and asked for the fleece to be wet and the ground dry in the morning if it truly was God’s will to use him.  So it was the next morning.  Gideon realized that could be explained scientifically so then asked for dry fleece and wet ground.  So it was.  Gideon raised an army of 32,000 men.  This time God objected.  Too many men.  So Gideon sent home any scared, any just married, and unwilling and he was down to 10,000 men.  God objected again.  Too many men.  Gideon sent the men to drink water.  Only the 300 men who cupped their hands and lapped like a dog were chosen to go into battle.  Gideon had his men but he still had doubts so he snuck down to the enemy camp and heard a soldier tell his friend that he had just had a nightmare about Gideon defeating them.  Gideon was finally convinced and rallied his 300 men and defeated a vast army of trained soldiers!!!  40 years of peace followed.

         Doubt is a terrible crippling force.  I have often joked, “If only God would send me a fax!”  Discerning and confirming God’s will is often a genuine challenge.  Some decisions are fairly straight forward.  Breaking the Ten Commandments is not advised.  Other decisions like choosing a job or choosing a spouse is much harder.  Then there are those choices that confront my will like forgiving a wrong done to me by someone.  Tithing sometimes falls in this category.  Very few decisions truly need to be settled so urgently that we cannot seek confirmation.

         I note from our text that God is willing to work with Gideon so that Gideon is convinced God is speaking.  I also note that might does not necessarily make right and that God is willing to use a humble, ordinary person to accomplish his will.  It would seem that God had more confidence in Gideon than Gideon had in Gideon.  God has more confidence in us than often we have in ourselves.  As we step forward in obedience we often will see our faith grow and strengthen as we see God work.  Perhaps you are feeling a challenge – to share your faith with someone, sing in the choir, visit a neighbor, or forgive.  Seeking confirmation is ok.  Gideon had to rely on God’s Spirit and God got the glory.  That’s the way it ought to be.  Right?  Of course right!  Blessing as you step into your challenge!

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