Judges 6:36 – And Gideon said unto God, If thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said,
Judges 6:37 – Behold, I will put a fleece of wool in the floor; and if the dew be on the fleece only, and it be dry upon all the earth beside, then shall I know that thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said.
Judges 6:38 – And it was so: for he rose up early on the morrow, and thrust the fleece together, and wringed the dew out of the fleece, a bowl full of water.
Judges 6:39 – And Gideon said unto God, Let not thine anger be hot against me, and I will speak but this once: let me prove, I pray thee, but this once with the fleece; let it now be dry only upon the fleece, and upon all the ground let there be dew.
Judges 6:40 – And God did so that night: for it was dry upon the fleece only, and there was dew on all the ground.
Hello all, back with a new blog today, and looking at the life of Gideon, and in particular the story of Gideon and the fleece. We will get into the fleece in detail, but first will set the background a bit. Gideon was one of the standout judges of Israel, it is pretty much him and Samson that are the names that stick out from the book of Judges. The life of Gideon is found from Judges chapters 6 to 8. Throughout the book of Judges we see Israel, a nation created, called, chosen, separated, blessed by God, repeatedly backsliding away from God. There is a cycle that we see in Judges of where Israel would depart from God, God would deliver them into the hands of their enemies, they would cry out to God in their affliction and then God would raise up a judge to deliver them. But when they had rest from their enemies, whom they never did utterly destroy, then they would quickly depart out of the way and follow the other gods and ways of the other nations and the cycle would repeat again and again. But Israel was getting worse and worse overall, slipping further and further from God by their own evil doings, and by the end of the book of Judges we see a nation a very, very long way departed from God. We see severe moral decay, violence, sexual perversion, a deeply corrupt religious and political system, and it is all summed up by a phrase we see throughout and which concludes the book of Judges, Judges 21:25 – In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes. Judges is a book which very vividly describes the way the world is heading, in particular Christian nations, and also “Christianity” as mankind forgets and forsakes God in the times of plenty, in the times of rest from enemies, and as a generation arises that knows not God.
Israel had done evil, and they had been invaded by a huge host of Midianites and other armies. After seven years oppression, Israel finally cried out for deliverance in desperation under great affliction, and the Lord appeared unto the man Gideon as he threshed wheat by the winepress to hide it from the Midianites. The Lord appeared unto him to announce his purpose, his will, to send him, that he would deliver Israel from oppression at the hands of the host of the Midianites. It is often noted that Gideon was a man full of doubt and fear, we are often quick to point out the weaknesses in the mighty men that God used, but who among us doesn’t have fear and doubt to battle amongst countless other human shortcomings? We are but dust, God knows that, and we know that Gideon was a man of great faith, and his name is found in the Hebrews 11 “hall of faith”. God was going to use him mightily to deliver Israel. When we are weak, God is strong. God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness, as Jesus told Paul. And God was strong on behalf of Gideon. Gideon obeyed the Lord’s commands, even full of fear. That makes what he did more courageous, as true courage is doing something even when you are fearful. Gideon threw down his father’s altar to Baal. Before we can be delivered from the Midianites, we must throw down the altars of Baal and cut down the groves in our life – the other gods, the other things in our life, that entangle and ensnare us, that lead us astray. No matter how dear and close to home they are, our house must be cleared and Christ must rule in our hearts alone. Deuteronomy 6:4,5 – Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. We must obey God and do things God’s way. The Bible says the Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon, and Gideon blew a trumpet and his army began assembling to him. And this is where we enter the story of the fleece.
Gideon wanted some proof that God would deliver Israel at his hand. Is there anything wrong with wanting some proof, some evidence, token, sign of victory? Not at all, there is nothing wrong with asking God for proof. But the proof we look for in our carnal, natural, faithless eyes is usually the wrong place. What proof are we looking for, and where are we looking for it? Because there is false proof and true proof. In 1 Kings 22, king Ahab of Israel and king Jehosophat of Judah joined forces to fight the Syrians, and enquired of the prophets regarding the upcoming conflict. All the prophets, who were false prophets, made a great commotion and clamored in agreement saying they would succeed in battle, and Zedekiah, who lead them made horns of iron as proof and said, Thus saith the LORD, With these shalt thou push the Syrians, until thou have consumed them. Wicked king Ahab was satisfied, but godly king Jehosophat, a godly king, wasn’t satisfied, and wanted to actually hear what the Lord said. We need some people like Jehosophat who wanted to hear what the Lord was really saying, who could see beyond all the false religious babble, and Micaiah, the prophet of the Lord was finally called, and he told them not to go up to battle, because they would lose. King Ahab ignored the advice, and Israel was defeated and he died. The point we are making though is that Zedekiah presented some proof, but it was false proof. Because the true proof of victory, deliverance, salvation is not man made, man conceived, man designed as the lying iron horns were. The true proof is in what God says, what God has done. True Christians have proof of victory, and the proof is in Christ. Christ is our proof. We must claim that proof, we must believe the Christ is the proof, the sign, the token of our victory.
Gideon already knew the will of God. God had spoken, but Gideon wanted some proof, some more verification, a token, an evidence of deliverance by his hand. Was this an act of doubt? Maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t, because we are about to see some great spiritual truths from the fleece. But the proof increased his faith, which is what our life is about, having faith, and growing in faith in Christ. God was happy to give him proof. God bears with our weakness. God graciously gave him a sign. God gives us proof today and yet we do not receive it as Gideon did. God points us to his word when we want proof! The Lord Jesus Christ said that when he sent the Spirit of truth, that the Spirit would guide us into all truth, that the Spirit would bear witness of him and his words. The Holy Spirit points us to God’s word, the Holy Spirit does not speak of himself, but speaks and bears witness of the Son, who is the Word of God (Living and Written). His infallible, eternal, unchanging, preserved word. It is easy to forget that God is gentle, long suffering, of great and tender mercy. He knows the truly seeking heart. Do you want some proof? God wants to give us assurance upon assurance, read 1 John, which was written so that we may know that we have eternal life and that we may believe on the name of the only begotten son of God. Just believe him! The living and written word who died for us. The fleece shows us a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ. But is it enough? Is he enough proof for you? God gave him proof by pointing to the Lord Jesus Christ. The fleece teaches us faith in him. We criticize Gideon for a lack of faith, but his lack of faith if it were so builds our faith as we read the story thousands of years later. We see that God does bear with our weakness, and when we need some reassurance, some reminding, some comfort, he points us to his Son. The Bible is all about him.
The fleece is a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ, of his person and his work, of his righteousness of Jesus Christ. One of the names of Jesus Christ is the Lord our Righteousness – Jeremiah 23:6 , and he is called Jesus Christ the righteous – 1 John 2:1. Isaiah 53, perhaps the greatest Old Testament prophecy of the Lord Jesus Christ says in verse 7 – He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. A fleece can be defined as the coat of wool shorn from a sheep at one time. Jesus Christ died once for us, it was a one time work. Hebrews 9:26 – For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. Hebrews 9:28 – So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation. Fleeces are used for coverings, and we must be covered by the righteousness of Christ, and our sin can only be covered by the Lord Jesus Christ. Isaiah 1:18 – Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. The fleece is so important, because it shows us great truths about Jesus Christ, and his righteousness.
But who cares about righteousness? Why is it so important? Righteousness is so important because God is holy above all else, and we are all fallen sinners. God loves everyone, yes, but he his holy above all else. The proof of this is that even though God loves everyone, people still go to hell, they go to hell because God’s holiness is the most important part of his character. He loves you, but will not compromise his holiness for you. Sin must be recognized, confessed and dealt with. Sin is the problem that all humanity has. We have all broken God’s law, sin is the transgression of the law. Adam sinned, and as we all come from Adam we are all sinners by birth. It is inherited, and we are sinners by birth and by nature. We all have sinned, and we all sin, if you cannot agree on that you are calling God a liar. Sin has separated us from God further than we can even imagine. God’s word, when it illuminates our mind, makes us begin to see how far fallen we are. God reveals the thoughts and intents of our hearts through his word, if we get honest with ourselves, we begin to see we are so dark and full of sin. The Bible says that there is none righteous no not one. Even your best day is full of sin, even your most righteous act is filthiness in the sight of God. Break one law, you have broken them all. Sin has a severe penalty. Death, and yes we all die, but there is also the second death, where the wicked are turned into hell, where all unsaved sinners are cast into hell. The Lord Jesus Christ is God’s answer and God’s provision from heaven for our sin. He is the way, the truth and the life, the only way to the Father. Jesus Christ is the righteousness of God. He did no sin. He was and is perfectly sinless. John the Baptist bore witness of Jesus Christ, and when he saw him he said, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. Behold the Lamb of God!
The proof of our deliverance is in the fleece. Our salvation, our deliverance, our victory is in Christ. His person, his life, his work is why we win. We are not just conquerors, but more than conquerors through him that loved us. When we are saved, we receive his righteousness, he clothes us, he covers us. God doesn’t see our sin anymore, he sees the righteousness of his Son clothing us, covering us. He gives us his Spirit, we abide in him, and he abides in us. By faith Gideon put out that fleece, not in doubt. And God shows us a great many truths thousands of years later as we read the story. You will have the victory if what you put out is the fleece. What will you put out as proof? What do you put out as proof? As Gideon put out the fleece which God honored as proof of victory, so we must put out the Lord Jesus Christ, who God honors, who God has given all things. The proof is not in what we can do, what we bring to the table, the proof is in who he is and what he has done. That is what faith is. He is our victory. He defeated sin, the devil, the works of the devil, death and hell on the cross. He is the supremely victorious God of glory, the Most High, the Almighty. Gideon brought not something in his own hand, but like Samson, who had nothing in his hand when he killed the lion, we bring nothing to the table. We bring nothing to the table. We are victorious in Christ. And he doesn’t let us down. He knows his own. He knows his sheep. He knows those who love him. There is none that he has let down, there is none that he has refused who has come to him in repentance and faith. Confusion of face and amazement does not belong in the camp of his servants, but confusion is in the camp of the enemy, as we see from the story as the immense army was put to flight before Gideon’s paltry band of 300. 1 Peter 2:6 – Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. The paradox (to us!) of our salvation, our deliverance, our victory is that there is nothing in our hands, we often think there is something we must do, but no, he is strong on our behalf. But can we, do we just trust him? Is Jesus enough for you? His grace is given to those who have simple faith in him.
The proof of victory is the Lord Jesus Christ, and his righteousness. Do we have faith in that though? It seems too simple, doesn’t it? We like to bring something in our hands. It is an offensive, silly, foolish message to the unbeliever. When we read the story we see that the proof came in two phases. Gideon first of all put a fleece out and said if there was dew on the fleece but not on the ground then he would know. And God made it happen. The dew on the fleece shows us that the Lord Jesus Christ is the source, the spring, the fountain of living water. When speaking to the Samaritan woman in John 4:10 – Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. Jesus has the water of life. And he gives it freely! Gideon wrung the dewy fleece out. And Jesus was wrung out for us. He as wrung dry. Jesus died for us. He was forsaken by God for us. He poured out his soul unto death. He became sin for us. Jesus came as a servant, as a minister. He was despised. He was rejected. He bore our guilt and shame. But it was all necessary, he must be wrung out, so that we are not wrung out. We also see that we must wring the fleece, we must personally appropriate what he has done. Jesus died for the sins of the world, and yet not everyone, and in fact most are still going to hell. His righteousness, his life, his water of life is received by faith. Just believe! And with your heart not your head. You must be saved yourself, noone can be saved for you. We also see Gideon wringing the fleece as important in our daily life. Do we really love him? Are we really truly seeking, knocking, searching? Because Jacob wrestled all night with the angel for the blessing, and said, I will not let you go until you bless me. And he was blessed. He was saved that night, that was the night his name was changed from Jacob to Israel. Salvation itself may be a wringing out process for you. Matthew 21:44 – And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. We must be broken before God in repentance. It will be well worth it. And Gideon wrung out enough dew to fill a bowl full of water. The saved life is a full life. Jesus told the woman at the well that she would not thirst again after drinking of the water of life that he gives freely. The fleece, the righteousness of Christ, his clothing, and which he clothes us with freely, is our proof of deliverance.
But it doesn’t end there. Gideon wanted more proof, and wanted the reverse of what happened to happen, that is, for the fleece to be dry, and dew on the ground instead. We are the ground. The Bible says that God formed Adam out of the ground. And the Bible says that God pours out his water, his Spirit, his life on the dry ground. Isaiah 44:4,5 – For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring: And they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water courses. We are dry, parched, thirsty sinners, we need the water on the ground. Without Christ we are dry, we have no life in and of ourselves. For the water to be on the ground though, the fleece needs to be dry. And Jesus became very dry for us. He said as he was dying on the cross, I thirst. And he got vinegar, not water to drink. It was a bitter, horrible death that he endured. But when the spear pierced his side, the Bible says forthwith flowed there out blood and water. A fountain was opened at Calvary. The fountain is still open. The dry ground now can spring up in life, and bring forth fruit, and become profitable. The water is on the ground, the previously dry ground is wet. And the Bible says there was dew on all the ground. All the ground. The water of life is available to all freely. We know from the Bible that dew is a picture of the word of God, the Bible says God’s word distills as the dew. Nobody is going to hell without hearing the gospel, without knowing the gospel, without more than a fair chance. God is not willing that any should perish. He has many witnesses of himself, even in the Congo. The witness of creation, the conscience, the knowledge of God in each person, his precious word that went to the whole earth at Pentecost, his Spirit which he pours out on all who have a repentant, mercy seeking, grace seeking, truth seeking heart to receive it. So dry is the ground, and yet, as Isaiah 53 says, Jesus came as a root out of dry ground. Thank God for his provision of the Lamb of God.
Jesus said, A wicked and an adulterous generation seeketh a sign – Matthew 16:4. Why are you seeking a sign, and proof? What is your heart condition? God gives signs, and proofs, but his ultimate proof is his word. The Bible says God has exalted his word above his name. Faith is based on believing his word, what he says. We all would love to see physical signs, physical miracles. That’s what so many “Christians” of today are deceived by. Because they are easily exploited by lying signs and lying wonders wrought by false prophets. There is a reason God has made it that it is faith in his word, his sure word, and God is really doing you a favor by giving his word instead of a physical sign. We can be tricked by our eyes, but we cannot be tricked when we are founded upon his word. His word is greater than a sign which may or may not be true. And a physical sign is no guarantee you have true faith. The people of Israel saw miracles yet still did not believe. Looking for physical signs builds some temporary, eyesight faith, but is quickly forgotten, whereas true faith is spiritual eyesight, believing God’s word, looking on the things unseen. Physical signs can be deceptive, after all that is how antichrist will deceive the whole world, through amazing, yet lying, signs, wonders and miracles. He will deceive the whole world. The world wondered after the beast in Revelation. If a physical sign is sought by you as your reject his word, well sadly you still wont believe no matter what God does for you. As Abraham said to the rich man in hell in Luke 16:31 – And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead. If Gods word is not sufficient for you then there is nothing left for you. A true Christians life is God’s word or bust.
So in summarizing, the Lord Jesus Christ, his person, his work, his righteousness is the fleece, he is our sign, he is our token, he is our proof of victory. This seems foolish, only the Holy Spirit can impress the reality of the proof on each heart. By faith. As Moses said as Pharaoh’s army closed in from behind and with the seemingly impassable Red Sea in front, Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord! It is easy to say that, but think about what it is saying. Stand still. That means stop what you are doing. Stop your efforts, your reasoning, your rationalizing, your worthless self contributions to the cause. Pull back your hand from the ark as Uzzah fatally failed to do. The Bible says salvation belongs unto the Lord. Think about what this means as well. Salvation is his, and his to give. How do we receive it? By believing him! There is nothing else, just believe his promises, as Abraham did. Romans 9:9 – For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sara shall have a son. What did Abraham have to do, nothing! All his efforts only produced Ishmael, who was cast out, who was not the heir, and all that effort only reaped Abraham pain and sorrow having to send the child away, and got him no closer to receiving the promise which came at the time appointed. Do you have faith just to believe God’s word? It is so simple, but it is a stumblingstone. A stumbling stone that tripped up the nation of Israel even until now. A stumbling stone that has tripped multitudes. You will never understand the picture of the fleece until you choose just to believe the word of God. The fleece is our proof of victory. Gideon believed the proof, so we should believe Jesus Christ, and his righteousness, his worthiness, the fact he is alive right now in heaven at the right hand of the Father. He is our salvation, our deliverance, our victory. The Midianites are delivered into our hand, we need but take the victory, receive it by faith. Do you have faith to receive the proof? Is this all nonsense, or God’s sense? His righteousness is the token of our victory, our salvation. If that is not enough then there is nothing else. The proof of deliverance is in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Get in line with his will, live for his glory, let him lead, and you cannot and will not fail. May God show you the proof of the fleece.