Keep in mind Baalism = Humanism throughout our study of Judges.
And what is the absolute authority in Humanism?
the absolute rule of man - man is supreme
Politically, that has to work out as "the absolute rule of man over other men by
means of force" (jbj p.113).
We can see this over and over in Judges.
LOOK AT Judges 6:1-35
Notice God did not SELL them into slavery this time, He GAVE them away.
vs 5 the enemies of God "were without number"
later in Judges 8:10 we find that Gideon fought against 135,000
vs 7 - Israel cried unto the Lord
God is not like Dominos Pizza
just simply call on Him and get a free deliverance in 30 min
God sent them a prophet - a prosecuting attorney to convict Israel of violating the covenant.
God put Israel where they are.
Why? What was the issue? (vs 10)
LOOK AT Judges 6:11-24
Who took the initiative to restore fellowship? (God)
Who was the Angel of the Lord? (Jesus/theophany)
(Remember Joshua 5:13-15)
SOME TYPES -
The son replacing or redeeming the father
Gideon and his father Joash
Jesus is called the Son of Man
the man is Adam
Adam the father rebelled against God
Jesus the Son became the second Adam who replaced and redeemed all who fell in Adam
LOOK AT vs 17 "show me a sign"
"Gideon knows that if God has restored fellowship with His people, then He will share a meal with them" (jbj p.120).
LOOK AT vs 22 Gideon realized this was the Lord
LOOK AT Judges 6:25-35
Fellowship is restored; therefore, a reformation took place.
It began with Gideon and his house. (Joash had been a Baal worshipper)
Gideon made a public profession of faith. He tore down one altar and put up another.
LOOK AT vs 31
James Jordan paraphrased it this way:
"Joash said to all who stood against him, 'Does Baal need you to plead for him? Does Baal need you to deliver him? Listen to me, those of you who want to contend for Baal. Let him, the one who has attacked Baal, be found dead by tomorrow morning. Give Baal 24 hours to avenge himself. If Baal is a god, let him fight for himself, since someone has torn down his altar'" (jbj p.125).
LOOK AT vs 33 now the harvest time comes around and the enemies have arrived
Where are they camped? valley of Jezreel
(Barak defeated Sisera's army)
And Gideon sent messengers to gather troops to fight.
NOW, THE FLEECE
LOOK AT Judges 6:36-40
Who remembers what I said about Baalism, Humanism & Evolution?
Philosophically, Baalism ascribed power to nature (Nature)
The universe supposedly was a closed system with the force of life within it.
Remember the comparison to evolution -
Also remember I said that in Baalism MAN STIMULATES HIS GOD/nature
Modern man wants to control nature to control evolution and advance humanity
I concluded that if God sustains life directly, then there is no such thing as NATURE.
Gideon had been raised up in Baalism or at least under its influence.
His father had an altar to Baal.
Being Israelites, they probably said God created the world --but after that natural processes took over.
This idea of process is deism. Deism, Baalism, or Humanism all make miracles impossible.
Miracles become simply disruptions to the normal processes of nature.
But God doesn't set aside physical laws to perform miracles.
If God sustains the universe, then there are no real physical laws as we like to call things like gravity, force, energy etc.
Miracles prove that God is active and sustains the universe.
Of course in the 20th century, modern Humanists like to say everything evolves around a principle of contingency.
that is CHANCE.
"Impersonal process plus impersonal chance equals the real world" (jbj p.129).
The simple answer to that is, however, that miracles are always caused by persons. Whether God, man or demons, some being is purposefully behind each miracle account in Scripture.
Now Gideon has a miracle performed for him by God.
It's debateable whether or not Gideon's request was sinful or not.
God did not rebuke him for asking, and the story is recorded.
But other saints in Scripture have sinned and it is recorded for us to learn from.
We can learn that God is not limited like Baal/humanism, and more importantly, that God is Sovereign.
How many of you have ever laid out a fleece before God, to determine God's will?
LET'S LOOK CLOSELY AT THE FLEECE MIRACLE
Did Gideon Sin?
1) God had already directed Gideon when He called him.
Gideon had already been told God's will.
That's one of the first things we must learn from this; that is, that Gideon was not really trying to determine the will of God.
LOOK AT vs 37 "as thou hast said" Gideon already knew God's will
Possibly, what Gideon wanted to do was to change God's will.
In other words, he may have been a little fearful.
2) To test God is wrong. And a fleece had nothing to do with fighting Midianites.
This is similar to Barak's failure in Judges 4. Gideon tells God he won't fight unless God performs a miracle first.
God had already given a sign when He accepted Gideon's offering. Another sign should have been that 32,000 men came to follow Gideon, who, by his own words, was the least in his father's house.
3)LOOK AT vs 37 again -
Gideon did not keep his word. Gideon asked God to do the trick in reverse after God made the fleece wet the first time.
All this can show us the tremendous patience and mercy God has on us when we don't believe Him either.
We act just like Gideon when we try to put out what we think is a fleece. But God is patient with us.
LOOK AT vs 13 Gideon had heard about God's miracles, but had never seen any. Gideon wanted to see a miracle.
Think about it, miracles were to help the faith of saints before the Bible was completely written. (Missionaries report miracles in lands where the Bible and the gospel have never been before.)
We have been given the Holy Spirit and are commanded to no longer walk by sight, signs & miracles, but rather by faith, faith in God's Word.
Remember Abraham and the Rich man in Lk 16? Abraham told the Rich man that his brothers must hear Moses and the prophets.
WHAT IS A FLEECE?
First of all, from the text, a fleece is a miracle.
A fleece is not just some sign of confirmation, or signal from God to do something.
Remember, Gideon already knew God's will. Gideon was not trying to determine God's will; he was fearful and lacked faith.
Gideon was saying he needed something besides the Word of God to stand on.
Remember the man who came to Jesus and said Lord I believe, help thou mine unbelief? This is about the same place Gideon was at.
This is how we do it:
OK God, if you really want me to go to Africa, then make the phone ring at 12 midnight.
One problem with that is Gideon asked the impossible, fleece wet and ground dry.
Telephones ring all the time. This request is only improbable.
Gideon had already seen God consume his offering, and talked with the Angel of the Lord; Gideon is not now going to ask for only a mere sign of circumstances.
Gideon was seeking faith for what God had already told him to do.
What I am getting at is that there is no such thing as "putting out a fleece" the way we talk about it in contemporary Christianity.
"Gideon was not seeking a circumstantial sign, but a miraculous one;
he did not use the fleece to obtain guidance, but to confirm
guidance already given;
and his motivation was not to do God's will, but rather his reluctance to follow God's guidance because of his own doubts" (Friesen, p.223)
Now I know that some of you are saying, "but I've tried it and it worked for me."
Let me see if I can explain it.
The Bible calls it using wisdom.
EXAMPLE: James & Teri want to sell their Mustang. They work on it and clean it up and decide it's worth $3,000. They say "OK God, if you want us to sell it, send us a buyer with $3,000."
So then, a buyer comes along with $3,000. Of course he may or may not be the first one to come along.
Anyhow, they sell the Mustang. Is that a fleece?
Was it a miracle? (possibly, if you've seen the mustang)
Let's look at that a little differently. Same scenario, only this time they decide that if they cannot sell it for $3,000, they would be better off keeping the car and using it to get around town.
They pray about it. They advertise the car in the paper.
If the car sells, they can thank God. If it doesn't sell they can still thank God for providing them a car.
And if someone comes along with $2,999.99, they won't freak out and say that must be a sign from God not to sell it. They can sell the car and know they did the wisest thing with the knowledge that God has given them.
The difference is in the attitude.
God is sovereign and He determines the outcome of all our decisions.
From our perspective, it looks like we freely choose to do something. It looks almost like we have what people call free will.
But we really don't. God has already ordained the good works we do. Our freedom consists of now being able to do good works, whereas before we were born again we could not do any good works.
And, God has already determined the results before the foundation of the world.
And we cannot know God's sovereign will about one of our decisions because His will is hidden in His secret counsel.
What we do have is God's moral will and God's wisdom. How can I say that? Where is God's moral will revealed to us? (Bible)
In other words, our attitude should be one of humility when we make decisions. We must remember that God will work out His sovereign will, and our response should be to humbly plan our choices and decisions knowing God can change them at anytime.
LOOK AT James 4:13-15