Gideon was an ordinary man who lived in fear of the Midianites who were going around destroying all that Israel had. The Israelites were not exactly being obedient to God but seeing the potential damage the Midianites could do to Israel’s existence and so they called out to God for help. God sent an angel to tell Gideon to go and deal with the Midianites. Gideon offered excuses as to why he was not the right person for the job and asked for proof that the message was from God. God performed a miracle and Gideon acknowledged God’s role. God then asked something of Gideon. He wanted him to destroy his own father’s altar to Ball which would lead to conflict in the community. Gideon did so but under the cover of darkness so that his obedience to God would not be witnessed by others. The Midianites and others eventually came to the area where Gideon lived and Gideon was called into action. However he still had doubts and put God to the test with the fleece incident. After the first test was concluded and God did what Gideon asked, Gideon had the nerve to test God again. He even asked God not to be angry at him but wanted God to repeat the test so Gideon could be sure.
Why did Gideon’ question God’s will? Why, when we are faced with obvious expectations from God, we hesitate to make a decision or even ask for more proof? Was Gideon not trying to discern God’s will when he posed the fleece test? He knew immediately what it was when the angel spoke “Go in this your strength and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian” (Judges 6:14b). When Gideon asked for proof he did so as a faithless unbelieving man who could not see the obvious because it meant going against the truth facing Him. God said obey me and I will give you all I promised, but Israel “did what was evil in the sight of the Lord (Judges 6:1a) and behaved as the world did with their altar to Baal. Sometimes we can’t see what God desires because it is easier to follow the trends of the world.
Understanding God’s expectations requires faith which is enhanced by the Holy Spirit, prayer and scripture. Faith tells us that God seeks what is best for us and that He has offered us eternity with Him, if we love Him with all our heart, soul and strength. Prayer and scripture brings this expectation to mind when we are faced with the choices needed to keep us on the path to God. The Holy Spirit helps us recall those promises, scripture and prayers so we do not doubt God. The men of Israel cried out to God for help and He responded by sending an angel to tell Gideon that he is to lead the Israelites to victory over their oppressor. We cry out to God asking what He wants from us? He gave us the Holy Spirit, scripture and prayer. Gideon doubted and needed proof that God was speaking to him. We doubt because it is not convenient to the expectations we have and so we test God by not doing the obvious.
Seek, read and pray – this is God’s will for you. Do these things and God will use you to change the world around you.