Gideon said to God, “Do not let Your anger burn against me that I may speak once more; please let me make a test once more with the fleece.”
God used supernatural signs and circumstances to reveal His will in biblical times. But does He give direction to His people today through signs? And is asking for a sign the most reliable way to discover God’s will? For the rest of this week, we’re going to look at six biblical principles about signs and determining the will of God for your life.
Principle number one: seeking supernatural signs is generally condemned in Scripture. Some of the harshest words about seeking signs came from the lips of Jesus. Look at Matthew 12:38–39: “Some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Him, ‘Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.’ But He answered and said to them, ‘An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet.’” Jesus was saying, “Your problem is not a lack of information; it’s a lack of obedience. I’ve already told you who I am. You have all the information you need.”
God’s Word usually condemns seeking after signs. Why? Because it is an attempt to force God to operate according to our timetable and our terms. And most of the time, seeking a sign is not a show of faith; instead, it shows a lack of faith. When Gideon asked for a sign, God had already commanded him to attack the Midianites. In fact, when Gideon put out the fleece a second time, he knew he was risking the wrath of God. In Judges 6:39, he said, “Do not let Your anger burn against me that I may speak once more; please let me make a test once more with the fleece.” Gideon wasn’t seeking God’s guidance; he simply wanted reassurance about the future.
That was true for me when I asked God for a sign about a pastoring job. I didn’t have a pressing decision to make; I was just tired of my present situation, and I wanted God to unveil His plan for me. God rarely does that. Seeking signs often reveals a lack of faith.
Principle number two: supernatural signs in the Bible were truly supernatural. Many times, we already know what we want to do, so we’ll ask for a sign that has a high probability of coming true. When I got a call from the pastor I was waiting to hear from, I thought it must have been a sign from God. But when you think about it, that event wasn’t unusual. The pastor had already promised to call me, so every day that elapsed increased the probability that he would call. It wasn’t really a supernatural sign. Signs in the Bible were truly supernatural.
Today’s devotion is adapted from “Putting Out the Fleece without Getting Fleeced” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2008.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.