Judges 6:36-40 36 Then Gideon said to God, “If You will deliver Israel by my hand, as You said, 37 I will put a fleece of wool here on the threshing floor. If dew is only on the fleece, and all the ground is dry, I will know that You will deliver Israel by my strength, as You said.” 38 And that is what happened. When he got up early in the morning, he squeezed the fleece and wrung dew out of it, filling a bowl with water. 39 Gideon then said to God, “Don’t be angry with me; let me speak one more time. Please allow me to make one more test with the fleece. Let it remain dry, and the dew be all over the ground.” 40 That night God did as Gideon requested: only the fleece was dry, and dew was all over the ground.
This world is filled with bad examples. A woman named Tamera from Louisiana was so frustrated at the slow speed of her boyfriend’s driving that she claimed she could walk faster than he drove. To prove her point, she opened the door to place her foot on the road. Her boyfriend was driving 55 miles per hour, so she was instantly ripped from the car as soon as she stuck her foot out. A lesson not to step out of the car while going down the highway.
Take Iraqi terrorist as another bad example: Khay Rahnajet failed to put enough posted on his letter bomb. His package came back marked “return to sender,” and he opened it only to be killed by his own bomb. A lesson to always put enough postage on all your packages.
So far in our study in prayer we have focused on good examples to follow. We have discussed men and women who poured out their hearts before God as well as those who called on God to follow through on His own promises. Gideon provides an example that should not be copied.
The doubting of Gideon
In Judges 6 God called on Gideon to lead his people to victory against the Midianites (14-16). Gideon responds with immediate faith as he rips down the local altar to Baal, but his faith stumbles at the end of the chapter. Seeing the Israelites form into an army at his summons, suddenly things get real for Gideon. He shrinks in fear before God’s clear command to take out the Midianites.
Gideon puts God to the test by placing a fleece of wool on the ground and asking God to make the fleece wet with dew while the surrounding grass remains dry. God answered Gideon’s request, but instead of stepping forward in faith, the judge doubts again and asks God to repeat the miracle. He now wants to fleece to remain dry while the ground becomes wet. God responds to the second test of Gideon.
This incident with the fleece should have never happened. Gideon knew God’s Word to him. He already saw God provide an army in vs. 33-35 yet he doubts and wavers. When you know God’s will for you, do not put him to the test. Step forward in obedience when He has clearly spelled out His Word for you. We are not to pray for miracles to back up God’s plain teachings.
The grace of God
The takeaway from Judges 6 is not to test God before we obey His Word with regard to clear teaching. We obey because it is God’s Word and we need no other argument. Another lesson in this prayer teaches us about the character of our God. He is a God of grace and mercy. God responded to the doubting of Gideon in spite of Gideon’s disobedience to the Law (Deut 6:16 forbids God’s people to put Him to the test), and God’s explicit command to him through the angel of the LORD.
Trust in God to hear your prayer even if you stumble over every word, you can never think of the right thing to say, or you feel lacking in comparison to the prayers you hear offered by others. God will respond to the call of His people even if they pray with faith like Daniel or doubting like Gideon. He is a good, good Father.