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When I was a kid, I remember trying to trick God.
“Bet you didn’t know I was going to do that, God!” I would think as I darted one way and rapidly changed directions. Of course, I never really knew is He did or not. Whether He was fooled. Somehow, I guessed no, no matter how insignificant my little tricks were.
Is it crazy how we all just really want that sign from God sometimes? I sure would. Some voice from heaven letting me know that everything I believe is real and true and He is there with me.
In a sermon about Gideon, Pastor David Legge talks about the criticism Gideon got for testing God after God had a) already been talking to Gideon and guiding him; and b) already given Gideon a sign by burning up his offering in front of him.
Many people who advocate putting out a fleece, they lay down their own conditions before God for a sign like this: ‘Lord, if Pastor Smith rings before midnight, I’ll know that it’s your will’, or, ‘If the weather changes by tea-time, if it rains or if it clears up, I’ll take that as a sign from You’. Now maybe you’re sitting here this morning, and you’re saying: ‘Well, can God not do that? Can God not make Pastor Smith ring before midnight? Can He not change the weather before tea-time?’, and I say yes, of course He can, but the problem is: so can the devil, and so can Pastor Smith of his own volition ring you before tea-time, and the wind can change. It’s not necessarily God changing the wind directly to show you His will, but it could just happen because of the weather. Hence a lot of this putting out of the fleece, or what people claim it to be, is a lot of hot air. The tragedy of it is that such practices have wrecked lives as people have made monumental decisions based on nothing more than the changing winds of circumstance.
Ah, the problem with signs.
Gideon asked God for a sign not only once but twice. Gideon lays out a fleece of wool. The first time, Gideon asks God to make the fleece wet in the morning but the ground dry. The second time, the ground should be wet, but not the fleece.
And this is AFTER Gideon has already gathered the army to defeat Midian! (But before God whittles the army down to a few hundred men.)
As Pastor Legge mentions, though, Gideon did ask God for a supernatural sign and not one that could have happened without His power.
But why did Gideon insist on a sign? He was still afraid.
Wow, that’s never happened to me. That even after a time of great spiritual victory … or a beautiful retreat … that I would still have second thoughts about forging ahead on something. (Sarcasm, sarcasm.)
Although I think Gideon was basically a twit, God used him. It gives me hope that God can use me, too … with or without a supernatural sign.