“God, give me a sign.” Have you ever said this? Have you ever asked God to give you a sign that something was His will? Something like, “God, if this is the girl I am supposed to marry, put a halo around her head and have her fall madly in love with me, now!” Or “If I am supposed to go to Africa and be a missionary, I will open the World Book and put my finger right on an African map (of course you have the “G” copy).” Maybe you prayed, “God, if this is the job I am supposed to have I will know it if they offer me a huge salary with great benefits.” Maybe you have said, “God, if you want me to witness to my friend, shine a bright light down on her and speak in real words.”
Many times, we as Christians ask God to give us some indication that something is His will. We want to find out what God desires. This is exactly what Gideon was doing. God had told Gideon that he was supposed to raise up an army and defeat the Midianites. Gideon was not to sure about this since he had never been a warrior. In fact, Gideon was from the most uninfluential of families, and our introduction to Gideon finds him cowering in the wine cellar hiding his wheat from the Midianites. But God wanted to use Gideon, so He spoke to Gideon. Gideon wanted to be sure he understood God’s will, so he asked, “God if this is really your will, let me put this fleece (sheep skin) out, and tomorrow morning let the fleece be wet with dew, and the ground next to it be dry.” Sure enough, God did exactly what Gideon had asked. Then a second time Gideon said, “God I want to be really sure I understand your will. Tonight I am putting the fleece out. This time, let the fleece be dry and the ground underneath it be wet.” Once again, God did just as Gideon asked.
So, is this how we should approach God when we want to find His will? Maybe, but not necessarily. In fact, God has already commanded His people that they are not to put the Lord their God to the test (Deuteronomy 6:16). So we should proceed very carefully when we are seeking God’s will, making sure that we are not testing him. Here are some principles to find God’s will, that we can apply from this story in the life of Gideon.
First, Gideon had already decided he would obey God. In fact, before he put the fleece out, Gideon went to his family altars (to other gods) and destroyed them. Then Gideon built an altar to Jehovah God, the real God. He knew when he destroyed these altars that the people in his village would want to kill him, but Gideon obeyed God. When he asked God about the fleece, he had already proven that he would trust God and obey whatever God wanted. Many times, we as Christians ask God to show us His will. But our purpose it to find out what God’s will is so we can decide if we will do it or not. Generally, we will find that God will not answer questions about His will until He knows that our answer will be, “Yes!” no matter what God calls us to.
Second, the conversation between Gideon and God was a two-way conversation. It wasn’t Gideon telling God, “You’d better prove it to me.” Gideon and God both decided on the fleece. Sometimes God will give us a sign to demonstrate His will. But if we are listening, God will reveal His will. This is where we need to be very careful, seeking a specific sign or proof of God’s will. Just because the devil woman from your office friended you on Facebook and said she would like to hang out on Friday, and your prayer was, “God, if she is the one for me, show me by having her friend me and go out on Friday,” does not mean that God’s will for you is to marry this she-demon. Not every open door is an indication of God’s will, nor is every closed door.
Third, there are some things that we don’t need a sign for. Gideon knew that serving other gods was against God’s will. He didn’t need a sign to destroy the altars. In the same way, things like witnessing, reading our Bible and praying, and going to church are always part of God’s will. We don’t need a sign for these. No need to pray and ask God if you should give your tithes and offerings. No need to have a prayer meeting to determine if you should be faithful to your spouse and stay married. God is not telling you to divorce, or to worship idols, or cheat on your income tax return so you can have more money for the Kingdom of God.
The Bible is full of promises that God will make His will evident to people who trust Him with all of their heart. Sometimes He might give a sign, but many times, He will speak through His Word, to your heart. If you begin by saying, “Yes Lord, whatever you want I will do it,” God will show you His will.