Gideon Asked For A Sign, Should You?
The story of Gideon is a well known Bible story. Gideon is listed as a man of faith in Hebrews 11:32 but it was his initial lack of faith that led him to do what he’s most known for, asking God for a sign. It’s a shame that he’s remembered for that because he accomplished so much for God in his lifetime. Many people see what Gideon did and wonder if it’s okay to ask God for a sign for themselves. Let’s take a look at his story and see why asking for a sign wasn’t a good idea, even for him.
In Gideon’s day Israel had turned away from God and as punishment God allowed the Midianites to control them Judges 6. Israel finally repented and cried to God for deliverance. God heard their prayers and chose Gideon as the one to lead Israel to defeat the Midianites. The Angel of the Lord approached Gideon and told him he was chosen to lead Israel to victory. Gideon protested, giving several legitimate reasons why he wasn’t a good choice. The Angel of the Lord persisted. This was when Gideon first asked for a sign. As it turns out, he got a couple.
Gideon didn’t realize the Man he was talking to was the Angel of the Lord. Gideon prepared a meal and laid it out for Him. The Angel of the Lord reached out with His staff. When He did, fire appeared which consumed the food. Then the Angel of the Lord disappeared. Wow, that’s what I call a sign! Actually two signs. It was then that Gideon perceived it was the Angel of the Lord. Surely Gideon knew God was with him now! Nope. Those two signs weren’t enough.
A few days later the Angel of the Lord told Gideon to gather men to fight the Midianites. Gideon once again asked for a sign. He asked if he could put a fleece outside overnight and the sign would be that if the ground were dry and the fleece were wet then Gideon would know God was with him. The Angel of the Lord agreed and it happened. Again, wow! How cool is that? Now Gideon was ready to go, right? Wrong. He asked for yet another sign.
Hmm, three signs weren’t enough? God was gracious and gave him another sign. This time the fleece was dry and the ground was wet. Finally Gideon was ready to go. There’s much more to the story but I want to tell you just one more thing. After Gideon whittled down his fighting men from 32,000 to 300 God did something really cool. He gave Gideon a sign that he didn’t ask for! You can read about it in Judges 7:9-15
4 Observations About Asking for A Sign From Gideon
- God is gracious and won’t strike you with lightning if you ask for a sign, unless perhaps that’s the sign you’re asking to receive.
- At one point even Gideon knew he shouldn’t have asked for a sign. Judges 6:39
- God gave Gideon the best sign of all and he didn’t ask for it. Judges 7:9-15
- The desire for a sign isn’t an act of faith, it’s a lack of faith.
God wants us to trust Him and go! Yeah, it’s a bit of a stretch but it’s also neat to see God reward our faith.
By the way, many people don’t know that after defeating the Midianites Gideon spent the rest of his life traveling through Israel putting Bibles in hotels. 🙂
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