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What Does It Mean to Put Out a Fleece?

What is the proper perspective on putting out a fleece?

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Your question gets to the heart of God's will and how we can know what He wants for us.

That is a great question, because it gets the heart of God's will and how we can know what He wants for us. The concept of putting out a "fleece" is found in Judges 6, where Gideon wants to know what to do, so he "tests" God by putting out a fleece. Even though God does what Gideon asks, Gideon requests a second sign, and God answers again.

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Comments on Original Question

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Your question caught my eye. My first thought was the story of Gideon, which happens to be my favorite story in the Bible because for me, it represents an amazing picture of God's grace in dealing with our times of doubt and confusion.

When we read Judges chapters 6 & 7, we see that God was calling Gideon to what seemed an impossible task. So Gideon has this amusing conversation with the Lord and says, (paraphrased) if I am really supposed to do this, show me a sign. If my fleece is wet and the ground dry, then I will know. So the Lord did this, then Gideon, still doubting says, make the ground wet and the fleece dry. And so it was, but Gideon was still doubting. So the Lord does something amazing! He sends him a person, and tells him exactly what to watch for, and when it happens, then he believes.

It seems crazy that we would doubt a sign directly from God when he answers our specific request. You think he would grow weary. But He doesn't he just shows more grace by giving us something that we can relate to in a more realistic way. God stoops to our level time and time again. Now that is grace!!

This story, and even stories in the new testatment, like John the Baptist's doubt, show us that if we are sincere in our doubt and confusion and our hearts are in the right place, God will meet us in our need. I believe Scripture makes a clear distinction in people asking God for sign, just to be arrogant and prove points, which Jesus rebukes, and when they ask in earnest.

This is just my tid-bit, I could go on, but I think I went on long enough. Great question! I am looking forward to other perspectives. And thanks, because this question gave me pause to remember how gracious our God is and the many times I layed out my fleece before Him. Lord Bless you!

is it wrong to throw iut a fleece to God and why would one want to other than dught and how does it differ from a vow?

I see your comment is several years old, so you might not even get this comment....but I just wanted to say Thanks! Your remarks were thoughtful and helpful . God bless.

My husband and I needed to know the Lord's will about moving from our current location to be closer to my family. I truly wanted the Lord's will in this....whatever He wanted! I decided that laying out a fleece would be an avenue to take for determining His will. My will was I wanted to move. My husband didn't care one way or the other. I layed out my fleece and put my house up for sale over a year ago with nothing.....still seeking His will. This past weekend I prayed my fleece prayer once more while doing a search for homes. 3 days later.....the fleece was answered. It was not the answer I wanted, but I am surrendered to His will. Sure, I am so tempted to say.........'was that really from the Lord?' but I am going to choose to believe it was and not ask anything further. So, we stay put until.............

Well.....I think the most important thing is to go by scripture so here is a couple of verses that pertain to your view on "putting the fleece before the Lord."

First, God did use fleeces and lots in the Old Testament. That's a fact. I totally agree that there are verses were God gives instructions to HIS people.

Here's why I respectfully disagree with you.
1) Matthew 4:7--Jesus answers (the devil), "You shall not put the Lord your God to the test."
I think that's enough if it's from the Bible, let alone from Jesus Himself. :)

I am assuming that you are thinking "Contradiction!!" I think not.
Back in the Old testament, the people did not have the Holy Spirit. I'm not saying the Holy Spirit didn't exist, though. A perfect example of this is in Acts 1:26 were it says: "And then they cast lots, and the lot fell on Matthias;so he was added to the 11." Even then, the Holy Spirit wasn't dwelling in them yet.

Bottom line, God does know everything before it happens. He has the Holy Spirit helping and guiding His children. God put the Holy Spirit in us for a reason, to guide us in our life and our walk with Him. All we have to do is walk by faith, knowing that God has a plan for every decision we make. And that's what I call cool.

----Alexg

The key to understanding what Gideon's fleece is all about is in Judges 6:36, where Gideon tells God: "If you will save Israel by my hand as you have promised-" Gideon knows God's will. He is to save Israel from the Midianites, since God has promised to conquer the Midianites through him (see esp. Judg 6:14-16). Gideon doesn't doubt what he is supposed to do. He doubts God's ability to follow through on what he has said he will do.

Although "to put out your fleece" is often spoken of by Christians as doing something to find out God's will, it is a misunderstanding of the purpose of what Gideon did. We are to trust God's ability to fulfill his promises (i.e. have faith in God), unlike Gideon (Gideon is in the Hall of Faith in Hebrews because he eventually shows faith in God starting in Judg 7:15). Sometimes, like in this case, God mercifully gives people evidence of his ability to keep his promises, even though they doubt God.

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