The Paradox of the Fleece

by Rev Lai Kai Ming

Readings: Judges 6; Psalm 106:32-48

READ (verse/s chosen for meditation)
Judges 6:39
Then Gideon said to God, “Do not be angry with me, but let me speak just once more: Let me test, I pray, just once more with the fleece; let it now be dry only on the fleece, but on all the ground let there be dew.”

Different commentators have a different take on what Gideon did. Like Rev Timothy said in his sermon yesterday, most scholars agree that Gideon shouldn’t have tested God. I am not so sure. For one, the text does not comment on whether Gideon did right or wrong. But we do know that God granted his request, twice. Secondly, I feel that many scholars have injected their own biases into the interpretation. At best, the text is neutral on the issue. If I am allowed to share my own view, I think Gideon was being very human – like Abraham, Jacob, and Moses before him. Being human, he needed two more assurances from God (the first being the fire on the rock) before he was ready to go into battle.

Do I put out a fleece before I act upon something that God has called me to. Well, no. I don’t see the need to. But would I judge someone who does that, because their faith is weak? Again, no. Paradoxically, it actually takes some faith to put out a fleece. Faith to believe that God hears our prayers. Faith that there is in fact a God who will wet the fleece. Now the only problem is, what if the test fails and the fleece remains dry? Does that mean that God will not be with us? Or is it God’s turn to test us now?

Lord, teach me to hear Your still small Voice. Help me to recognize You so well, that I wouldn’t need to lay down any fleece – but simply obey.