Then Gideon said to God,
"Do not be angry with me.
Let me make just one more request.
Allow me one more test with the fleece,
but this time make the fleece dry and let
the ground be covered with dew."
—Judges 6: 39
Yes, as one commentator wrote — it wasn't that Gideon doubted that God was going to use him to save Israel, he just needed reassurance that it was God's directive—not his own. That's a logical and clear explanation for Gideon's request. It's an if and then event.
But are we always so logical? One commentator states that Gideon faith was weak and he kept asking for yet another proof. Another commentator questions whether anyone who puts out the "fleece" is mature in their faith.
How about human frailty? How about the need to know—how about the need to hear or see God's hand working?
Maybe what's needed is a release from doubt, a reassurance that all is going to fine.
We all have if and then moments. If I do this then this will happen.
We enter into dialogue with others, "I'll do this if you'll do this."
But Gideon's fleece is different—it's asking God to prove His/Her power. It's like saying—prove it to me, assure me, comfort me, surround my doubt with assurances.
I recall when I was nine and my mother became quite ill—no one knew if she'd pull through. We were six states away from home and when the ambulance came in the middle of the night I was terrified. I recall sitting in my bed and thinking that the only option I had was to talk to God. Everyone had left and I was alone for an hour.
We weren't a religious family and I didn't know how to pray, but I had seen movies and noticed that people got down on their knees and rested their folded hands on the bed. If you haven't any experience talking to God and no blue print on how to proceed, you just begin talking. I started by saying Dear God, my name is Linda.
I expect that I prayed an if and then prayer—offering up everything from cleaning my room to washing windows.
Years later I read about Gideon and knew that my doubts and worries had been surrounded by God's assurances that night. My mother recovered. It took me a number of years to realize that what God offered wasn't assurance of recovery, but an assurance of being there—loving and supportive.
I like the fact that Gideon's fleece is one of the stories I can claim.