By Neil Anderson
Psalm 27:8 NIV
My heart says of you, “Seek His face!” Your face, LORD, I will seek
“If the sun is shining in the morning, I’ll do it.” “If he’s there when I open the door, I’ll know he’s the one.” “If I pass the class on world missions, I’ll be a missionary. If not, I’ll be a local pastor.”
We all know better than this, but it’s amazing how often scenarios just like these pop into our minds. Such propositions are referred to as “laying a fleece” before the Lord or “seeking a sign.”
The term fleece comes from the account of Gideon. In Judges 6, Gideon is called by God to deliver Israel from the Midianites. Gideon questions whether God is even for Israel (verse 13), and he doubts his own ability (verse 15). So he asks God for a sign (verse 17). God gives him one, then tells him to tear down the altar of Baal. Gideon is afraid to go during the day, so he goes at night.
Then he questions again whether God will deliver Israel. This time he puts a lamb’s fleece on the ground. If God will deliver Israel, then the lamb’s fleece will be wet in the morning and the ground around it will be dry. The next morning it is so. That ought to satisfy him, right? Wrong! Wanting to be sure, and hoping that God won’t get too mad, Gideon asks Him to do it again, but this time with the opposite result (i.e., the fleece dry and the ground wet). Not exactly the stuff heroes are made of. But God answers Gideon’s request and then He reduces Gideon’s army down to 300 men!
The whole point of the passage is that God, not man, is the deliverer. God chose a man desperately seeking assurance and reduced an army down to nothing so that the victory would clearly be His. The fleece wasn’t a means of demonstrating faith; it was just the opposite. And it certainly wasn’t used to determine God’s will. God had already told Gideon what to do. Gideon was questioning the integrity of God, just as we do if we ask for a fleece when God has already shown us His will. “An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign” (Matthew 12:39). As God’s people, let’s seek the face of God.
Prayer: Lord, forgive me for the times I have looked for sign instead of seeking Your face. I commit myself today to walk only in the faith revealed in Your Word.