Judges 6:36-37 (NLT)
Then Gideon said to God, “If you are truly going to use me to rescue Israel as you promised, prove it to me in this way. I will put a wool fleece on the threshing floor tonight. If the fleece is wet with dew in the morning but the ground is dry, then I will know that you are going to help me rescue Israel as you promised.”
Is it ever right to test God?
Gideon—the least important member of the least important clan in all of Israel—has been called by God to raise an army and defeat Israel’s Midianite oppressors. Already witness to one miracle, Gideon nevertheless puts God to the test and asks for more proof that God is serious and will help Gideon assume this daunting role of army commander. It is perhaps astonishing that God complies and even submits to a further test before Gideon is confident enough to obey his calling.
What’s interesting in this story is God’s indulgence. He understands Gideon’s misgivings and answers his prayers with the positive proof Gideon needs. Unlike the Israelites of the exodus, who tested God because of their hardness of heart, Gideon believes God but with a shaky and imperfect faith. God honors Gideon’s plea for reassurance, knowing what Gideon does not yet understand—that with God’s help he is the perfect instrument to rescue Israel and restore peace to the land.
This glimpse into God’s heart can encourage us when we face adversity and our faith feels shaky. Like Gideon, our call is to obey God and trust him for the outcome of our faithful efforts. Whether we must confront a powerful person, challenge a loved one over a troubling issue, or face hostilities for the sake of justice, God assures us that we can stand firm on his promises of help and counsel.
In choosing to use frail, frightened humans to accomplish his mighty purposes on earth, God also understands our need for supernatural strength and courage. If we approach him with our little faith, he promises to grow it as we continue to trust him. “Test me in this,” God challenges through the prophet Malachi. “See if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.” Whether the issue is trusting God with our resources, confronting an adversary, or navigating a difficult relationship, God meets our every step of faith with abundant faithfulness, and our every act of devotion with tender mercies beyond our capacity to contain them.
FATHER, like Gideon, I believe you and trust you, but my faith can fail me when I face something really big and frightening. Help me take that first step of faith into danger or uncertainty, so that I may know you are with me. Help me to recognize how your tender mercies are all around me, flooding my life beyond my capacity to appreciate them all.
Malachi 3:10; Hebrews 3:7-8
Where in your life is God calling you to take a step of faith and test his faithfulness and love for you?