(With apologies to The Culture Monk)
I have been asked about the setting out of a fleece and my first thought: in this age, really?
The general situation is that this guy really wants to do something and he wants God’s seal of approval on it. That is not what a fleece is for, and I do not feel that “putting out a fleece,” “casting lots” or anything like that is the best way for a Christian to determine Gods Will. I want to give three reasons for this.
But first, what is a fleece? There is only one instance of using a fleece in the Bible that was Gideon in the book of Judges.
And Gideon said unto God, If thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said, Behold, 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. And 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. And 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. And God did so that night: for it was dry upon the fleece only, and there was dew on all the ground. (Judges 6:36-40)
Pretty self-explanatory, Gideon put out a test to confirm God’s will for his life. So now the three issues I have with using of fleeces by Christians:
- Gideon had already heard from God in Judges 614-16 (And the LORD looked upon him, and said, Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent thee? And he said unto him, Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house. And the LORD said unto him, Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man. ) so he was just confirming what God has already told him not trying God on something He had not spoken to Gideon about previously. If you do not feel you have heard from God and are using this method I have one word for you: STOP! This is the first place where my friend has missed the mark.
- The result Gideon asked for could have only happened supernaturally. If your fleece is anything other than this you are tempting God with circumstances. It is like the couple who says, “God, if you want us to have this house, then let the loan be approved.” A year later they are in foreclosure because they cannot keep up the payments. It is like when satan tempted Jesus by having Him jump off of the temple. Jesus response in this situation needs to be ours: Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God (Matthew 4:7)
- We see the use of the fleece in Judges, we see how the High Priest would use the Urim and Thummim, and even the Apostles cast lots to pick the replacement for Judas but after Pentecost in Acts chapter 2 that stopped. Before that the Holy Spirit was not dwelling in power in the believer. Now we do not need a fleece, lot, or a couple of stones to determine what to do, we have the Spirit of the Living God in us to lead and to guide.
So how do we discern God’s will? That is the topic of the next post.