Often when Christians face momentous decisions Christians find themselves listening for the still small voice of the Lord, reading the scriptures more, praying, fasting, and sometimes even laying a fleece before the Lord, by which they mean a test for God to prove that it is in fact His voice and His leading that they are following.
The idea of testing the Lord by laying a fleece comes from Judges chapter 6 verses 36-40 where Gideon, who having heard the voice of God tell him to save Israel from the oppression of the Midianites, was unsure if he was in fact hearing the voice of God and so asked God to confirm his word with a miracle.
Judges 6:36-38 “And Gideon said unto God, If thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said, behold, I will put a fleece of wool in the floor; and if the dew be on the fleece only, and it be dry upon all the earth beside, then shall I know that thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said. And it was so: for he rose up early on the morrow, and thrust the fleece together, and wringed the dew out of the fleece, a bowl full of water.”
Gideon wanted to be sure that he was truly hearing from God. This was a momentous decision, a life altering decision, which called for a miracle, a supernatural event to prove the voice of God was speaking into his life. But one miracle was not enough for Gideon. A second miracle was required.
Judges 6:39-40 “And Gideon said unto God, Let not thine anger be hot against me, and I will speak but this once: let me prove, I pray thee, but this once with the fleece; let it now be dry only upon the fleece, and upon all the ground let there be dew. And God did so that night: for it was dry upon the fleece only, and there was dew on all the ground.”
Gideon had his answer. The word of the Lord was confirmed by two supernatural events which in combination proved beyond a doubt to Gideon that he was in fact hearing from the Lord. And so Gideon set out to do the will of the Lord in his life. Today Christians taking the example from Gideon speak metaphorically of laying a fleece before the Lord when they have decisions to face. God knows Christians have faults and human doubts and questions.
Jesus Christ after his resurrection understood Thomas’ and the other disciples’ doubts and told them to touch, feel, and believe that he was truly raised from the dead by evidence of their senses (John 20:25-27, and Luke 24:39-40). Signs, wonders, and miracles are given to the church to confirm the word, to prove that the message is from God (Mark 16:20). We are commanded to not accept a prophecy as from God without first confirming it (1 John 4:1).
We must be careful though as we seek the will of the Lord. Notice in verse 39 that Gideon asked for the second miracle with some trepidation. “Let not thine anger be hot against me,” he said. Why? It is right and good to question God to confirm his word, but too much questioning of God and you might find yourself like Zacharias, John the Baptist’s father, who was struck dumb for the duration of his wife’s pregnancy because he doubted the Angel sent from God with an answer to his prayer (Luke 1:13-20). Or like Job who questioned “why” to God, and was put in his place by questions from God too great for Job to even comprehend (Job 38-39).
As Christians seek the will of the Lord for their lives they should not be too eager to “lay out a fleece.” There needs to be a balance between fervently seeking the Lord and questioning the answer when it comes. Today Christians rarely hear the voice of God overtly manifest in their lives. In part because they have the manifest will of God in their hearts in the person of the Holy Ghost, and they have the expressed will of God in their lives in his Holy Bible.
Romans 12:1-2 tells every Christian what the will of God is for their lives: to “present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Do all that you do for the glory of the Lord, love Him, seek to please Him in your daily lives, and in your daily choices. If you do this in the small decisions the big decisions will take care of themselves.