The Word for today:
Should I marry Susie? Should I buy the house on Lake Avenue or Elm Street? Should I go back to college? Should I invest in stocks or in bonds?
I don’t know, but what I do know is that you should not put out a fleece.
When I first heard of “putting out a fleece,” it seemed like some magic Ouija Board sort of thing that enabled a person to determine the will of God. Here’s where the phrase comes from:
Then Gideon said to God, "If you will save Israel by my hand, as you have 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 you will save Israel by my hand, as you have 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 your anger burn against me; let me speak just once more. Please let me test just once more with the fleece. Please let it be dry on the fleece only, and on all the ground let there be dew." And God did so that night; and it was dry on the fleece only, and on all the ground there was dew. (Judges 6:36-40)
God had told Gideon that he would lead Israel to victory over their Midianite oppressors. But the Word of God was not enough for Gideon; he wanted a “sign.”
So he spread out the fleece and, miraculously, it was wet with dew while the ground around it was dry. But was that enough to assure our hero of God’s guidance?
Nope. God’s word, and a miracle besides, were not enough confirmation for Gideon. So he dared to ask God for the same miracle in reverse! And sure enough, when he awoke the fleece was now dry, while the surrounding ground was soaked with dew.
The Bible tells us that we are to walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). But When Gideon put out a fleece, he was walking by sight and not by faith.
Here is the faith we are to emulate:
And Simon answered, "Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets." (Luke 5:5)
Biblical faith is acting on the word of God. Simon Peter did not say, “At your fleece I will let down the nets.”
Jesus Christ commended those who believe without seeing:
The other disciples told Thomas, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe." Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you." Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe." Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." (John 20:25-29)
So you’re still wondering if you should marry Susie? The Bible shows us that the will of God contains vast leeway. We don’t have to pinpoint his will as much as we have to avoid his Don’t. (Anything they did in the Garden, outside of one "Don't," was within the will of God.) Using marriage as an example, let’s see how that principle works…
God’s Word will not reveal her name, the color of her hair, or how many freckles she has, but it does advise you to marry someone…
1. who loves Jesus;
2. who loves you; and
3. whom you love.
2. who loves you; and
3. whom you love.
If that list describes Susie, you can rest assured that God will bless your marriage.
So put that silly fleece away, because if you’re looking for God’s guidance in a “fleece,” I’ve got a hunch that God will guide Susie right past the “Gideon” guy to a man who takes God at his Word.