Thursday, March 20, 2014

Judges 6-7 Please let me test just once more with the fleece

From Judges 6-7

Jdg 6.1-10; Story; Midian Oppresses Israel
Jdg 6.11-35; Story; The Call of Gideon
Jdg 6.36-40; Story; Gideon's sign of the Fleece
Jdg 7.1-18; Story; Gideon’s Three Hundred Men
Jdg 7.19-25; Story; Gideon Defeats Midian

Passage and Comments
God is very gracious. Its not only in forgiving our sin that he shows this. He can and does show it in a number of different ways. He probably enjoys seeking new ways every day amazing people with his grace. In today's passage I was reminded again of the grace and kindness God shows his people.

Israel has done evil again in the sight of the LORD (Jdg 6.1). Consequently God sends a foreign nation (Midian) in to discipline Israel. After a while Israel cries out to the LORD. This time the LORD raises up a man called Gideon. An angel of the LORD appears an commissions Gideon with the task of rescuing Israel (Jdg 6.12). Gideon has the hide to ask why Israel has forsaken them and given them to Midian (Jdg 6.15). He needs assurance and this is how the LORD reveals his gracious character.
36 Then Gideon said to God, “If you will save Israel by my hand, as you have said, 37 behold, I am laying a fleece of wool on the threshing floor. If there is dew on the fleece alone, and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you have said.” 38 And it was so. When he rose early next morning and squeezed the fleece, he wrung enough dew from the fleece to fill a bowl with water. 
Generally when the LORD meets people they know it is him. Gideon needs proof who he is dealing with. He needs proof God will work through him. The amazing thing is that the LORD answers his request. But wait, there's more.
39 Then Gideon said to God, “Let not your anger burn against me; let me speak just once more. Please let me test just once more with the fleece. Please let it be dry on the fleece only, and on all the ground let there be dew.” 40 And God did so that night; and it was dry on the fleece only, and on all the ground there was dew. (Jdg 6:36–40)
The first miracle wasn't enough for Gideon, he asks for more. This time the request is in reverse. Notice he acknowledges the temerity of his request. 'Once again please, that instance wasn't enough for me'. God patiently answers Gideon's request.

Story of Israel
And the LORD eventually saves Israel through Gideon. Through the story of Israel there are others who display the same kind of reckless boldness. David comes to mind. When he entered the sanctuary and took the Holy bread (1 Sam 21.1-6), I suspect he broke a few laws by doing that. Yet the LORD spared him. Why does the LORD not destroy these people where he has destroyed others for lesser affronts?

Story of Jesus
The main reason I would like to put forward and this becomes explicit in the New Testament is faith. Faith in the grace of God. Following the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, faith in God gave God's people assurance and hope for the future. God's people, like Gideon, should know they can ask God for anything and he will graciously listen. God doesn't blast his children. God didn't consume Gideon with his wrath because he loves him. So he bears with our weaknesses and silly requests as well.