Summary: This message looks at the unusual "fleece" request that Gideon makes and then considers whether we are allowed to make similar requests.
Is It Ok To Ask God For A Sign?:
1. This passage about Gideon’s fleece is a true story, but not an ironclad promise.
- Judges 6:36-40.
- God is under no obligation to answer “fleece” questions.
- Not all Bible stories are directly applicable in the sense of being able to expect God to do the same thing for you. Short of a direct promise, you can’t presume that God will do the same thing for you that He did for someone else.
- Just because something is in the Bible doesn’t mean that it’s a precedent for us to claim.
- Some misuse Scripture that is a story and treat it as a promise.
- Going back to Gideon, he was publicly looking confident, but privately He was very uncertain. What was in front of him was a huge challenge and there were many lives that would be his responsibility.
- It was a big step into the unknown. And Gideon was doing his best to obey, but was just looking for a little help.
- There are times in our lives when publicly we’re saying, “God is going to come through!” while privately we’re praying, “God, You’re going to come through, right?”
2. Demanding a sign can be an indication that we’re “putting God to the test.”
- Exodus 17:2; Psalm 78:18, 41, 56; Psalm 106:14; Matthew 4:7; Luke 4:12.
- Sometimes demanding a sign shows that we feel like God owes us something to get our obedience. And we won’t step forward until He does what we demand.
- It’s kind of like treating God like He’s our trick poodle. “Roll over!” “Bark!” “Here’s a treat!”
- We need to be wary of making threatening demands of God.
- Acting like a diva isn’t going to get you very far.
a. As a high school student lays on his bed: “God, if You’re really there, make this light bulb flicker.”
b. The man out of job: “God, give me a job by Friday or I’m done with You.”
c. The woman in a struggling marriage: “God, if You’re real, You will save my marriage.”
- How often is asking for a sign legitimate and how often is it a cover for not wanting to obey?
- Two images: a runner in the starting blocks eagerly awaiting the gun vs. a government bureaucrat sitting behind his desk with his arms crossed.
- The one speaks of someone eager to run the race, eager for the ok to get started.
- The other speaks of someone who will obey only after every i has been dotted and every t crossed.
- Often asking for a sign puts us more in the territory of the second image: “We’ll obey You, God, after You line everything up and let us know exactly what’s going on and how everything will progress.”
3. Signs are usually not enough to inspire belief.
- Matthew12:38; Matthew 16:1-4; Mark 8:11; Luke 11:16; John 2:18; John 4:48; John 6:30; 1 Corinthians 1:22.
- John 12:29 – Some here a voice; some hear thunder.
- Luke 16:31 – Lazarus – even if someone rises from the dead, they won’t believe.
- John 7:16-17 - believe and then it will make sense.
- Often people asking for a sign won’t be convinced when they see it.
- A sign may guide a willing heart, but it will rarely change a reluctant one.
- Several years one of my cousins had a scare. One of his two boys was put in the hospital after a growth of some sort showed up on tests. Was it a tumor? Was it cancer? This was on a Saturday and we were anxiously awaiting the next step on Monday. On Monday, they reran the tests and the growth was gone. There are the two pictures – it’s there in one, it’s gone two days later. My cousin, who hasn’t been to church in a long time, told one of our relatives that it was a miracle (a sign, if there ever was one) and that he needed to get back in church. He never went once.