By Vernon Ball
Discovering the ‘Will of God’ is a common topic among Christians today. Various means are used that are intended to lead one to the will of God. Some of them are quite valid and helpful while others are not only unscriptural but are harmful to our relationship with the Lord.
I want to address only one of these at this time, and that is the use of a fleece. To my knowledge, there is only one Scripture that can be used to reference this practice and that is Judges 6:17-24. There are several points I want to make in using this Scripture.
First, Gideon did not use the fleece to find the will of God. God had already revealed His will to Gideon that he was to lead the people of Israel against the Midianites before Gideon ever mentioned a fleece. So if his use of a fleece wasn’t to find the will of God, what was its purpose?
The second point is that Gideon did not question the message but the messenger. He knew that the nation had fallen into a terrible state and that God had withdrawn His blessings, so who was this telling him to go to battle? The only way he could verify this message was for God to do the impossible. He wasn’t resistant to God’s will as long as he could verify it was indeed God speaking. He noted that the miracles of God had ceased and that the nation was under heavy oppression. It would take God to change things.
The third point is that Gideon questioned God’s choice of the agent. Gideon was an Israelite, who had disobeyed God and was under His judgment. Further, his family was among the poorest of his tribe which may have indicated that they felt that they were singled out as chief offenders. Still further, Gideon felt that he was the least in His family. Whether or not it was true, at least that is how he saw it, and could not see how he could contribute anything to accomplishing God’ will. (1 Cor 1:25-29 comes to mind about God’s choices.)
The fourth point is that Gideon did not ask for anything to profit him in any way other than the knowledge that God was directing. Sometimes we hear something like “If God wants . . . then do . . . for me.” That is a complete misuse of Gideon’s fleece. He wasn’t trying to profit materially but only to know that God Himself was directing his way. That is what we all should be doing.
One final note: Once the will of God has been validated by God, it becomes a mandate to us for immediate action. Israel got into trouble by disobeying God and so will we if we do not act by faith in God.