The Lord spoke with Gideon calling him to be God's instrument to deliver Israel from the Midianites. Gideon, however, was not ready to trust what he was told. He asked for a miracle before making the decision to obey – a wet fleece and dry ground. God was very gracious to Gideon, "And it was so: for he . . . thrust the fleece together, and wringed the dew out of the fleece, a bowl full of water" Judges 6:38. Still not satisfied, Gideon asked for a greater miracle – a dry fleece on wet ground, "And God did so" verse 40.
How should we make decisions? How often do we "put out a fleece" to determine our course of action? Is there a better way? Shouldn't God's word to Gideon have been sufficient? We each have the benefit of God's Word to guide our decisions. Though the specific situation may not be mentioned in the Bible, we find counsel or principles that can direct us in all areas of life. We will not find that counsel without opening our Bibles.
I'd like to give an example of a misused "fleece". A young Christian lady has fallen for a young man who is a nice guy but not a believer. She wants to feel right about being with him. She is well aware of the Bible's counsel, "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? "
2 Corinthians 6:14. Both friends and family have pointed out this counsel in their concern for her. She decides to put out a fleece so she prays, "Lord, if I should be with him, have him call me within the next hour." He calls and she now feels justified in being with him, but wait a minute. When God has given clear counsel, it is a denial of His word to choose a different pathway. We do not want to be as Israel of whom God said "But my people would not hearken to my voice . . . . So I gave them up unto their own hearts' lust: and they walked in their own counsels" Psalm 81:11, 12.
Is there ever a time for a fleece? What about in a decision between two equally good options, and no specific Biblical principle to help choose between them? Could it be that in such circumstances the Lord is ready to bless us regardless of which decision we make? If a fleece is ever used, ask for the clearly miraculous as did Gideon, rather than for something entirely likely to occur, as given in the example above. It's too easy to trick ourselves into choosing our own way.
Read God's Word and each will be able to share David's prayer "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path" Psalm 119:105.
Kathryn Irizarry is a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.