“But the Spirit of the LORD took possession of Gideon; and he sounded the trumpet, and the Abiezrites were called out to follow him. And he sent messengers throughout all Manasseh; and they too were called out to follow him. And he sent messengers to Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali; and they went up to meet them. Then Gideon said to God, “If thou wilt deliver Israel by my hand, as thou hast said, behold, I am laying a fleece of wool on the threshing floor; if there is dew on the fleece alone, and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that thou wilt deliver Israel by my hand, as thou hast said.” And it was so. When he rose early next morning and squeezed the fleece, he wrung enough dew from the fleece to fill a bowl with water. Then Gideon said to God, “Let not thy anger burn against me, let me speak but this once; pray, let me make trial only this once with the fleece; pray, let it be dry only on the fleece, and on all the ground let there be dew.” And God did so that night; for it was dry on the fleece only, and on all the ground there was dew.”
“Out of my distress I called on the LORD; the LORD answered me and set me free. With the LORD on my side I do not fear. What can man do to me? The LORD is on my side to help me; I shall look in triumph on those who hate me. It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to put confidence in man. It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.”
This story of Gideon has always intrigued me. The first few words tells us that the Spirit of the Lord was with Gideon, and in previous verses we read that Gideon even spoke with an angel of the Lord. He was called a “mighty warrior” when he had in fact not even fought any battles at that point. In Chapter 6 the Lord continually encourages Gideon by words and other signs to assure him that he is not alone and that he will be victorious. God knew that Gideon was afraid and He was patient and careful to reassure him that he would not fail. We read that Gideon does not take any glory for himself, acknowledging that all the power he has comes from the Lord. So then, we may ask, why does Gideon do what is called the “fleece test” to ask God for further assurance that He will be with him on the day of battle?
Let us take a look at our own character. Do we ever find ourselves like Gideon, fearful that we may be abandoned to fight future “battles” by ourselves? Maybe we ask God for a sign that He is really on our side and we can proceed with our lives, confident that He is with us. I take comfort in reading of God’s patience with Gideon. God knew that Gideon was afraid and He went along with the fleece test because that is the assurance that Gideon needed at that time. What a loving Father we have, who knows our weaknesses and will help us in all our fears! All his life Gideon trusted in God and always gave Him the glory for his success. What a wonderful example of how we, too, can be confident that ” if God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)
May we look to God this day and trust that He will be with us in all our battles.