Judges 6 & 7
34But the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon, and he blew a trumpet;
and Abiezer was gathered after him.
35And he sent messengers throughout all Manasseh; who also was gathered after him: and he sent messengers unto Asher, and unto Zebulun, and unto Naphtali; and they came up to meet them.
36And Gideon said unto God, If thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said,
37Behold, I will put a fleece of wool in the floor; and if the dew be on the fleece only, and it be dry upon all the earth beside, then shall I know that thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said.
38And it was so: for he rose up early on the morrow, and thrust the fleece together, and wringed the dew out of the fleece, a bowl full of water.
39And Gideon said unto God, Let not thine anger be hot against me, and I will speak but this once: let me prove, I pray thee, but this once with the fleece; let it now be dry only upon the fleece, and upon all the ground let there be dew.
40And God did so that night: for it was dry upon the fleece only, and there was dew on all the ground.
1Then Jerubbaal, who is Gideon, and all the people that were with him, rose up early, and pitched beside the well of Harod: so that the host of the Midianites were on the north side of them, by the hill of Moreh, in the valley.
2And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people that are with thee are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me.
3Now therefore go to, proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, Whosoever is fearful and afraid, let him return and depart early from mount Gilead. And there returned of the people twenty and two thousand; and there remained ten thousand.
4And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people are yet too many; bring them down unto the water, and I will try them for thee there: and it shall be, that of whom I say unto thee, This shall go with thee, the same shall go with thee; and of whomsoever I say unto thee, This shall not go with thee, the same shall not go.
5So he brought down the people unto the water: and the LORD said unto Gideon, Every one that lappeth of the water with his tongue, as a dog lappeth, him shalt thou set by himself; likewise every one that boweth down upon his knees to drink.
6And the number of them that lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, were three hundred men: but all the rest of the people bowed down upon their knees to drink water.
7And the LORD said unto Gideon, By the three hundred men that lapped will I save you, and deliver the Midianites into thine hand: and let all the other people go every man unto his place
Gid´eon’s name means "he that cuts down". He was the youngest son of Joash of the Abiezrites, an undistinguished family who lived in Ophrah, in the territory of Manasseh, near Shechem. He was the fifth recorded judge of Israel, and perhaps the greatest of them all.
When we first hear of him, he is grown and had sons; and he had already distinguished himself in war against the roving robbers who had oppressed Israel for seven years.
When the angel appeared, Gideon was threshing wheat with a flail in the wine-press, to conceal it from tyrants. His call to be a deliverer, and his destruction of Baal’s altar, are related in Judges 6.
After this begins the second part of Gideon’s life. Clothed by the Spirit of God, he blew a trumpet, and was joined by Zebulun, Naphtali and even the reluctant Asher.
Strengthened by a double sign from God, he reduced his army of 32,000 by the usual proclamation.
The ‘fleece’ of Gideon has often been copied, to one degree or another... And sometimes the direction of the Lord is verified with fleeces, even today, but we must be careful... Notice, Gideon already had heard from God. The Fleece was not ‘direction’ or God’s instruction. The fleece was confirmation to what had been told already to Gideon.
We are not to use fleeces to give us reason not to pray and ask for God’s answer. Many do this..... And it is wrong. We use fleeces to confirm, what God has already told us. They build faith, otherwise we could just flip a coin, or whatever, and never pray, never learn to hear God speak, never search the Word for confirmation.
The fleece must not be too easy... Nor should we seek one that would be impossible.
For instance... One young man wanted to marry a certain girl so he was afraid to ask God if he should, for God might say no. So he decided to put a fleece out. He prayed... "God, if you do not want me to marry "matilda"... Then, show me a sign so I will know not to". The sky suddenly grew black, the thunder clapped, and three bolts of lightning hit the three trees surrounding the young man. The man continued, "Well, if you are not going to answer, I will go ahead and marry her."
Then there are the ‘fleeces’ like... "if the sun comes up tomorrow morning, then I will know that you want me to do this... or that." Would God make the sun not come up to tell you not to?
Sometimes, we want something so much that we make sure the fleece will come true... and that is not of God... or Biblical...
First, ask God... search the Word of His already revealed will... and if it is Biblical... then wait for Him to answer your prayer. Then with His answer, you may, with wisdom decide on a fleece, to strengthen your faith. Sometimes the revealed will of God is very hard... And it is difficult to know what to do. And when God has shown you, but you, in the natural, would not want to. You can build your faith to help you.
In the case of Gideon... Gideon had already had one sign.
"And he said unto Him, If now I have found grace in Thy sight... Then shew me a sign that Thou talkest with me.
And the angel of the Lord said... Take the flesh and the unleavened cakes...
Then the angel of the Lord, put forth the end of the staff that was in His hand, there rose up fire out of the rock, and consumed the flesh and the unleavened cakes.
Then the Angel of the Lord departed out of his sight..."
The Lord had already shown that He was speaking, and Gideon asks a short bit later... For the fleece confirmation... Fleeces are confirmation... Not ‘direction’.
Gideon was soon to be really tested... For the 32.000 soldiers that he had, were to be cut down to 300... And God was asking him to war against an army of 135,000 Midianites. That was a tough task... To put it mildly...
We are often asked to do what seems nigh to impossible. And it is difficult...
We are tempted to question... Did we really hear God say to do this? And when we are tempted to doubt... We can put out a fleece.
But first... Get direction.. Search the Word... God does not promise to answer fleeces... For sometimes,,, He wants us to search the Bible more... Pray for His voice to speak ... Or maybe... Just to be patient and watch God work.
Beware of fleeces like...
"If it be your will, let lightning strike my mother in law..."
"If it be your will, let me win the 11 million dollar sweepstakes"
"If it be your will, let me be elected president of the company first..."
"if it not be your will, let the moon crash into the earth..."
Silly huh...? God has a good laugh at many fleeces that people put out... to try to get God to confirm what they want to do, or not to do... It is time to mature beyond such types of fleeces...And to learn to avoid some ‘easy’ way to find out God’s will... The old fashioned way of searching the Word, following every precept given, and then seeking God’s face for further direction, and learning to listen to hear His voice.. That may seem hard, and flipping a coin so easy... But we are to seek God...