"All the Midianites and Amalekites (the easterners) got together, crossed the river, and made camp in the Valley of Jezreel. God's Spirit came over Gideon. He blew his ram's horn trumpet and the Abiezrites came out, ready to follow him. He dispatched messengers all through Manasseh, calling them to the battle; also to Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali. They all came. Gideon said to God, "If this is right, if you are using me to save Israel as you've said, then look: I'm placing a fleece of wool on the threshing floor. If dew is on the fleece only, but the floor is dry, then I know that you will use me to save Israel, as you said." That's what happened. When he got up early the next morning, he wrung out the fleece - enough dew to fill a bowl with water! Then Gideon said to God, "Don't be impatient with me, but let me say one more thing. I want to try another time with the fleece. But this time let the fleece stay dry, while the dew drenches the ground." God made it happen that very night. Only the fleece was dry while the ground was wet with dew."
I remember someone saying that it was sign of Gideon's weakness and disobedience to ask for a fleece. But I don't think so. I don't think God resented Gideon's uncertainty. I think God knew that he had been silent for a long time; that Gideon was new to the whole thing and that he needed something to remind him that God was more than an idol.
If God can handle our questions, then God can also handle our uncertainty. Later on a man would cry out to Jesus, "I believe! Help me overcome my unbelief!" Gideon too. He needed a little heart boost. And God gave it to him.
God's mercy is not held in a fist of frustration. God's mercy is overflowing over wide open hands, spilling through his fingers and splashing over our dry hearts. God is patient with us as we sort it all out. He is firm in his calling, but he is gentle, friends.
Courage cannot be forced. If it were it wouldn't be courage - it would be coercion. And God does not coerce. God sits down under the tree, asks for an act of bravery and then fills us with his own breath, his own spirit, to complete the task. Notice that the Spirit of God had filled Gideon BEFORE he asked for a sign. God was in the asking, friends, as much as he was in the delivering.
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