Many of us, at least those of us who have spent any time attending or teaching vacation bible school, are familiar with the account of Gideon and his “fleece test” found in Judges chapter six.
I can really relate to Gideon – it’s not really that I doubt God, but I doubt my own interpretations or understanding.
When Gideon first encountered the Lord, his doubt wasn’t in the existence of God; his doubt was in what he was seeing; he wasn’t sure that it was really God to whom he was speaking.
Gideon said, in verse 17: “If now I have found favor in your eyes, give me a sign that it is really you talking to me.”
Then, later on, just to be sure he was understanding what the Lord told him – that he would be used to save Israel from their enemies, Gideon asked for more confirmation:
Judges 6:36-40 Gideon said to God, “If you will save Israel by my hand as you have promised- look, I will place a wool fleece on the threshing floor. If there is dew only on the fleece and all the ground is dry, then I will know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you said.” And that is what happened. Gideon rose early the next day; he squeezed the fleece and wrung out the dew—a bowlful of water.
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. This time make the fleece dry and the ground covered with dew.” That night God did so. Only the fleece was dry; all the ground was covered with dew.
I have been involved in various churches over the years: Baptist, Pentecostal, Methodist, Assembly of God, Christian and Missionary Allicance, and a few other odd churches. One thing that was particular to the charismatic churches is the “Word of Knowledge” or the “Word from the Lord.”
I often felt very unspiritual listening to these “words” because I doubted they were REALLY from the Lord – as in, directly. The words, while true and biblical, were extremely general and had a very broad application; it would most certainly apply to someone. Yet these “words” were accepted and rejoiced over as if they were something profound, new, and fresh…just for that purpose, for that day.
I grew disillusioned. In fact, I had come to a point in my life where I was doubting a lot. In particular, I doubted that I truly was a child of God. I didn’t doubt God; I doubted my place in the Kingdom of God.
My current church invited a “prophetic speaker” to come and speak to us. I had my doubts, of course. Before going to the service, I put a very specific fleece out before the Lord in prayer.
I wanted Him to tell me – specifically, without doubt, without question, without generalization, that I was His child and that He did indeed love me. I wanted to hear those very words, and I wanted it to be without a doubt that it was meant specifically for me and only me.
I went up to be “spoken over” by this “prophetic speaker.” It was as I had suspected…nice, uplifting encouraging words, but they were like the horoscope in the paper. It could apply to anyone, really, if you tried hard enough. I went back and sat down on my chair, pondering.
Wow, I guess I have been right all along. No matter how many people have encouraged me or prayed for me, I really don’t belong in this family of God. I was an impostor.
A teenaged girl motioned to me – she needed to talk to me. I thought our kids had been acting up or something. Katrina had been one of our babysitters for some time, and I’ve watched her grow up from the time she was in Awana at the Baptist church. She pulled me aside and told me that the Lord wanted her to tell me something.
She said that the Lord wanted her to tell me that I was His child, and that He loved me very much. I thought I was going to faint. In addition, she said she saw flowers blooming around my head while we were in church. That floored me, because one of my talents is for killing flowers and plants. But the Lord loves me, I am His child, and I was like blooming flower to Him, even if I can’t make flowers bloom myself.
The confirmation came, not from a so-called prophet, but from a devoted girl who had prayed for me for weeks.
You can still fleece God. And just like with Gideon, you will get your answer. Even if the answer comes from an unexpected source.