"The 300 and the Fleece"
This next story about Gideon and the people of Israel is one of the more popular accounts in the Bible. If you know anything at all about Gideon, it would probably be the story about Gideon and his 300 men who delivered Israel.
Judges 6:34 states “Then the Spirit of the Lord came on Gideon.” How many know we are utterly unable to fulfill our destiny without the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit serves as our guide, our power, our conscience, our comforter, and our sword. In the Old Testament God’s Spirit would uniquely descend and empower or anoint certain individuals for particular missions or tasks. In the New Testament every believer who has accepted Jesus Christ into their hearts is instilled with the Holy Spirit. We need to understand a little about this Spirit and also be receptive to His guidance and power.
There is no need to ask God for the Spirit. The Spirit is within us if we have truly trusted in Christ. Nevertheless, there are certain times we need to “tap in” to this Spirit in an especially powerful or personal way in order to survive a trial or to win a battle. The New Testament does describe a “filling” of the Spirit which oftentimes appears to be connected to an empowering in order to advance God’s Kingdom in a particular way, which thus implies it also aids in fulfilling our own destiny as a citizen of God’s kingdom. The Apostle Paul in Ephesians 5:18 encourages us to be continually filled with the Holy Spirit.
Gideon receives this infilling of boldness through the Spirit of God for this mission. He immediately calls the people of Israel to follow him and to stand up against the enemy. You see how Gideon is now becoming the man God created and expected him to be? It was a process…and the process is far from over.
The day before Gideon was to lead God’s people into battle against the mighty Midianite forces, Gideon, once more, wanted to be certain about God’s plan. Sound familiar? Like before when he wanted proof that it was indeed an Angel sent from the Lord, Gideon asked for a sign if God would truly save Israel by his hand. We might think that Gideon should have known by this time that God most certainly had called him. However, let me stress to you the gravity of the situation.
We are talking about an entire nation of people going into battle against a potent enemy army consisting of several nations who had previously pretty much bullied Israel at every turn. The lives of tens of thousands rested in his hands. We all want to be leaders…until the burden of responsibility begins to weigh heavily upon our shoulders. It is not nearly as fun as first imagined.
I am not going to discuss the sign which is usually referred to even today as a “fleece” to God. There are a couple opposing thoughts on the matter. Let me say that I believe his personality, his character, must be considered. He is a man determined to trust and follow the Lord completely, but he first needs to be convinced that this is the Lord’s will. You can see it as a positive attribute or a negative trait. I do not believe we must land completely on one side or the other. It is simply a part of who Gideon is.
As I mentioned previously in this series, some Christians have a million excuses for refusing to follow the Lord even if the plan was made crystal clear to them. On the other hand, others tend to move forward recklessly believing their actions are justified, only to discover it was their own desires instead of God’s will. Most of us fall somewhere in between. Again, let me stress, as we follow God daily in our everyday matters, we become attuned to His voice and more easily discern His call for more noteworthy responsibilities in the Kingdom.
Well, God understands Gideon’s heart and does give him a sign…actually twice. Gideon wants to be definite beyond definite, so he asks for the sign to be repeated.