Faith and Fleeces
Lord, where my hand is closed, open it. Where my heart is shut, unlock it. Where my resolve is weak, strengthen it.
Read JUDGES 6:25-40
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“The principle of guidance is not complicated; it is simplicity itself. It is that your life is always at the disposal of the Lord in order that he may work out his plans” (Alan Redpath 1907-1989).
Gideon, having learned to obey bravely because he now believes, lays out his infamous fleece. Was that a good thing to do? Should we do the same kind of thing? Wasn’t he sinfully testing God? Wasn’t this a relapse into doubt?
Well, there’s doubt and there’s doubt. I think that for most of us many of the doubts that rise within us are actually self-doubts. They speak of our lack of confidence in ourselves. A while ago, a lady getting on to a train asked me “Is this the train to Inverness?” She had seen the signs clearly stating that it was the train for Inverness but she had the common nagging doubt. What she sought was not more reliable data, but simple reassurance; she doubted herself.
Gideon believed God, as shown by his obedience to the command to tear down the altar to Baal and build an altar to Jehovah; but he was also full of self-doubt: Have I got this right? Am I misreading the situation? So he set out his fleece and made his bizarre requests. God seemed to understand this. He answered Gideon’s requests patiently, kindly.
A lack of faith in ourselves is not a sin. It can lead to sin, but if self-doubt drives us to greater dependence on God, then it’s a good thing. If more of us recognized it more often, we might pray more! Faith is not to be confused with feeling self-confident. “Have faith in God,” said Jesus (Mark 11:22); and faith in God might be accompanied by almost crippling self-doubt. Ask most church leaders!
Have you ever resorted to “Gideon’s fleece”? What happened? Thank God for what you learned about God and about yourself.
Heavenly Father, thank You for understanding my self-doubt. Strengthen me and all Your children, especially my pastor(s) and the leaders in my church.
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