17 May. Judges 6:33-40

17 May. Gideon puts out a fleece to ask for a sign from God

“All the Midianites, the Amalekites and other peoples from the east [of the River Jordan] joined together and came across the Jordan River and camped in the Valley of Jezreel.”

“But the Spirit of the LORD entered Gideon, and he blew a trumpet to call the Abiezrites to follow him. He sent messengers to all of Manasseh, calling them to follow him. He also sent messengers to the people of Asher, Zebulun and Naphtali. So they also went up to meet Gideon and his men.”

“Then Gideon said to God, ‘You said you would help me save Israel. I will put some wool [a fleece] on the threshing floor. If there is dew only on the wool but all of the ground is dry, then I will know that you will use me to save Israel, as you said.’ And that is just what happened. When Gideon got up early the next morning and squeezed the wool, he got a full bowl of water from it.”

“Then Gideon said to God, ‘Don’t be angry with me if I ask just one more thing. Please let me make one more test. Let only the wool be dry while the ground around it gets wet with dew.’ That night God did that very thing. Just the wool was dry, but the ground around it was wet with dew.”

          (Judges 6:33-40)



After the Midianites heard about the demolition of the altar to Baal and the burning of the Asherah idol at Ophrah (Afula), they quickly realised that Gideon was recruiting support from among the northern Israelite tribes for an uprising against their rulers. So they joined forces with their allies beyond the River Jordan and marched into the Vale of Jezreel (the ‘Valley of Israel’).

Gideon sent out messengers to rally the northern Israelite tribes of Manasseh, Asher, Zebulun and Naphtali, and then prayed to God for guidance on whether he should risk a full-scale attack on the combined forces of Midian, Gilead and Bashan.

He decided to ask God for a ‘sign’ of the LORD’s approval for his battle plan. So he ‘put out a fleece’ to test whether God would support and bless his plans. If the fleece became wet with dew overnight, but the surrounding ground remained dry, he would take this as a sign of God’s agreement. And this is what happened.

But just to check that he wasn’t imagining God’s voice speaking to him, the next night he ‘put out a fleece’ again. This time, if the fleece remained dry overnight, but the surrounding ground was wet with dew, then this would confirm God was going to bless his armed campaign against the Midianites.

And this is precisely what happened. God spoke clearly to Gideon in this amazing way, encouraging him to expect God’s blessing on his uprising against the Midianites. So Gideon immediately began to prepare his men for the battle.

The photo (by Joe Freeman) shows the Jezreel Valley from Megiddo.

You can read more about the Vale of Jezreel @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/biblejourney2/28-the-israelites-face-continuing-opposition/gideon-defeats-the-midianites/

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