Judges 7QUESTION: Fleece and Subtraction - 1ANSWER:Judges 7 – Part 1
by Pastor Nathan Shepherd (Dive Chapel, Candle Key, Florida)
Pastor Nathan Shepherd prayed, thanking the LORD Jesus -- the gracious, all-powerful, cool Creator -- for the beauty that was all around the Florida Keys. Nate finished his lively opening prayer with a corporate “Amen.”
“Okay gang, before we jump into Judges, chapter 7, I want to say something real quick about our ‘Queen Eileen’ project at RRM. I know that many, many of you are anxious to go dive on this new mini-reef, but please, Billy and the team at Reef Restoration Ministries are basically begging you to stay away for the next few months. It’s a very fragile site and dive traffic can severely damage it. Hopefully, next week, I’ll have a very cool announcement about something we’re going to do out there. But, right now, please bear with us.”
There was a rumble of talking in the concrete-floored room. Nathan could hear the theme of a conversation on the front row.
“I know, it’s kind of a bummer, but we’ll update you with news and pictures right here. Also, you can get the latest stuff on RRM’s website.
“Now, as we jump into Judges 7, flip back one page and let’s look at the end of Judges 6. By a show hands, don’t be shy, how many of you have not read the story of Gideon and the fleecing in the last two years?”
At least a third of the hands in the cavernous room went up.
“Very nice. Thanks. Okay. Let’s look at Judges 6:36-40. Remember last week we saw Gideon, or as he’ll be called in chapter 7, ‘Jerubbaal’, stepped into a phone booth and changed from Mister Chicken-whiner to Super Faith-man. The reason, the phone booth if you will, was that he spent time with Jesus.
“At the end of chapter 6, Gideon has torn down all the alter to the pagan god Baal in his town and he’s gathered an army. But he’s still not quite there. He tells God that he still needs a sign to believe that he’s supposed to be the great military leader of Israel. That sign is that Gideon will leave a wool fleece on the ground and God should make the fleece wet in the night, but leave the ground around it dry.
“The next morning, Gideon gets up and the ground is dry, but he wrings a whole bowl full of water out of the fleece. Cool. Pretty demonstrative, right? Not for the G-man. Look at verse 39. Gideon says to God, ‘Do not be angry with me, but let me speak just once more: Let me test, I pray, just once more with the fleece; let it now be dry only on the fleece, but on all ground let there be dew.’
“Now what’s going on here? Is Gideon thinking that the first ‘fleecing’ was a coincidence? Remember, he already got a sign when the LORD burned up his sacrifice with fire from heaven. Could he be stalling for time? Maybe he’s not satisfied with the number of men in his army and he wants another day to see if more show up. God knows it doesn’t matter. Remember that – God knows, it doesn’t matter.
“Of course, the next morning, the ground is soaked and the fleece is dry. Now, let’s jump into chapter 7.
“Gideon and the army that gathered to him were about 32,000 men. The army they were marching out against, the Midianites and the Amalekites, numbered about 135,000. There were four times as many bad guys as good guys.Judges 7 – Read Part 2!