Friday, April 4, 2014

To Fleece or not to Fleece...

This year in school, we have been studying Creation to the Greeks, and that means we have been reading from Genesis through the Old Testament.

Recently, we were in the Book of Judges, reading how the Children of Israel had turned their backs on God, once again, looking for something tangible to worship in their attempt to 'fit in' with those who lived around them.

As we arrived at the story of Gideon, I read the story that I have read too many times to count in my lifetime and was struck by a new revelation. This revelation was based on something I have been told to believe all my life by different well-meaning pastors and/or believers in the faith, but I have always struggled with actually agreeing with their claims about…Gideon's fleece.

I have heard so many different reasons why Gideon was wrong when he threw out the fleece, but for the first time, I confronted those reasons with the scripture that I saw before me.

Gideon threw out the fleece…not because of his lack of faith in God…

but because of his lack of faith in himself.

Gideon threw out the fleece…not because of his inability to hear God's voice…

but because of his distrust in his own thoughts, whether they were his own or from God.

Gideon threw out the fleece…not because of his lack of leadership skills…

but because of his unwillingness to step out without knowing that God was leading him.

Not one of us would step out into a battlefield (whether real or spiritual) without knowing that God was with us, leading and guiding our every step.

When Abraham asked God multiple times to save Sodom and Gomorrah, we don't say that he had a lack of faith, but that he had such a close relationship with God that he was willing to ask of God even to the point of "if there are only 10 righteous."

So, why do we question Gideon's faith and his relationship when he asked of God to confirm His request?

When you read Gideon's words to the Lord, he humbly asks of the Lord, not in defiance or anger, not in confusion or stress, but for confirmation of God's request of him to lead his fellow Israelites into battle against 100,000 Midianites.

Which one of us wouldn't confirm that it was really and truly God speaking to us in that moment?

The revelation that throwing out a fleece wasn't wrong or bad confirms itself…as Paul Harvey would say…in the rest of the story.

When God whittles down Gideon's army from 32,000 to 22,000 he doesn't question why God is taking his warriors from him.

When God again whittles down his army to only 300, Gideon doesn't once question God's reasons why, he just follows orders.

When God asks him to go down to the camp and listen next to the tent of the Midianites, he doesn't hesitate, but obediently follows the Lord's instructions.

And he is rewarded by hearing another confirming word of Israel's impending victory led by God.

At the moment when the trumpets were blown and jars were smashed, not one of Gideon's men had to raise a hand, but they were spectators as the enemy defeated themselves.

Not once, after Gideon threw the fleece did he question the Lord or have doubt in what God was doing, because he had God's confirming word in his heart and mind.

Whatever doubts the enemy tried to hurl at him were completely crushed by the knowledge that God was in this journey…that God had given clear and direct instructions…and that Gideon wasn't acting on his own…all because he received confirmation from the Lord when he threw out the fleece.

When we were in the planning phase of preparing for mission work, we knew God had called us, but we had no idea to where?

We asked of God to reveal the place. 

When we arrived in Venezuela in 2010, we asked Him to confirm if this was the place where he was calling us.

Should I dare say it…we threw out a fleece…

And God so totally and completely confirmed, answered, responded to our fleece or our request, that we have no doubt of his calling to Venezuela.

So, now, when the enemy tries to tell us that we are not where we are supposed to be…

when he tells us that we should go home…

when he places obstacles in our way…

and when he thinks he is winning…

We KNOW that God has called us here, we have NO DOUBTS (even in the midst of the current conflicts here) because we asked for God's confirmation and He loved us enough to answer our prayer!

Now we can walk in victory, not only because the enemy has been defeated, but his lies don't work because we know that we know that God has led us to Venezuela and He has a great work that needs to be done here!