Fleece. Wool. I love my fleece(s). In a sense, Gideon did too…
But his probably looked more like this:
As much as I would like to believe that all Biblical characters were the first to sport a Patagonia fleece, it just simply isn’t true. And this isn’t a blog post to give Patagonia a plug either – promise. I think they are doing just fine without my help : )
My Pastor just shared a wonderful message regarding Gideon this past Sunday called “Awaken the Warrior” and I realized, he and I have many things in common. MANY. That’s why I love scripture. It really is profitable – ALL of it. It’s VERY ordinary people who make a lot of mistakes and can just be your average person. Gideon had no great pedigree. He said he came from one of the smallest tribes of Israel. Oh and by the way, he was the least in his family. Whether that means he was the youngest, scrawniest, dullest or maybe, least skilled, least able or least likely to do anything valiant. I can track with Mr. Gideon. I’ve hidden from the Lord many a-times. Maybe not in a winepress (for obvious reasons) but definitely in my apartment, behind closed doors and might have shed a few tears (or actually bawled like a baby) because of what I sensed God calling me to do.
I can go on and on, but let me get back on topic. As I have been reading through Gideon’s story in Judges 6, God first called him by what He saw him to be, not who He was in the natural: Mighty and Courageous. How? He was hiding and he was a small nobody? “The Lord is with you”. Oh, ok that’s something key to note too. The nearer we are to God, appearance and pedigree have no place. It all bows to who He says we are in Him. “Apart from Me, you can do nothing” John 15:5
Then God tells Gideon that he is the one to lead Israel to defeat the Midian army. But that sounds too easy for us just reading it. Here are the specs:
- 7 years Midian had been oppressing Israel
- As soon as Israel would have food or livestock, the Midianites would come and take it all. Think of every time you went grocery shopping, someone came and took it all. Every paycheck was robbed from you leaving you helpless and hopeless -for seven long years.
- The oppression was so bad that people moved to caves. Did you catch that? They would rather live on damp, rocky, smelly (literal) holes in mountain walls rather then to deal with Midian.
Now, God is telling Gideon – YOU are going to set Israel free from their oppression. YOU are the one to defeat them ALL. Yes, YOU, hiding here.
Ever feel God is calling you out of hiding and into something bigger? Ever feel so incredibly ill-equipped, just threshing away in a wine press but He’s calling you out? And then allllllllll the fears, doubts, confusion, doubts, fear, doubts, confusion…and more doubts come at you?
That’s me right now. I look more at the uncertainty of the “call” ahead of me, instead of the Voice speaking to me. I look more at myself and my inabilities and weaknesses, then Who is with me. I don’t come from a line of missionaries, pastors, evangelists, etc. I was the first Christian in my home…Who am I Lord?
So what about the Fleece? Well, Gideon had to be SURE that he was hearing God right, so he asked the Lord to confirm this crazy idea in a particular manner: if Gideon would lay the fleece out over night, could the Lord please make sure that only the fleece is damp with dew but the threshing floor completely dry. God did just that. Was it enough? Nope. So He asked God to do the same thing except now the opposite – you know, just by chance it wasn’t really the Lord, but maybe someone spilled a bowl of water directly on that fleece. Even though God didn’t need to answer Gideon’s request, He graciously did.
Man, the patience of God astounds me here. I’ll be honest…I keep laying fleece’s, but one, two, three-hundred are never enough! And God spoke something to my heart – even if He continued to answer my fleece requests, I will continue to question them.
God’s clarity is never the issue but my obedience is.
Faith is obedience, to something unseen. I’m slowly learning: faith isn’t the absence of fear; faith is stepping out despite that fear – trusting in the One who spoke is with you.
God may be calling you to do something really radical in the eyes of the world. People may be against it. Family. Friends. It could change a lot in your life – it could change the direction of things drastically. Maybe YOU are your biggest obstacle? Fear of being wrong. Fear of looking dumb. Fear of an uncertain outcome.
I’m learning in this process to trust in the One speaking because He’s the One leading. I thought I did trust, but I realized, I’m still cowering in the wine-press! Trust in the Voice of God speaking and His Word affirming. At the end of the day, we can have tons of prophetic words, “signs” and wonders, but that won’t be enough. At least not for me. I found that to be true in my life. His promise to never leave me and to go with me is the greatest answer to my fleecey-petitions.
Some take aways I’m processing through (and I graciously gleaned from Steven Furtick’s message “Jesus Told Me To”):
- God doesn’t need me to fully understand HOW He’s going to do things first and then I’ll respond by obeying; He’s called me to completely obey FIRST, then I’ll see the HOW later.
- When I do as Jesus has told me, then it will be as He has told me. Did Gideon defeat the Midianites and by a very specific way? Yes. Obey first, then you’ll see
- If Jesus is calling me to do it, then it means it’s already done.