Gideon put God to the test. Gideon, by placing a fleece on the floor, took matters into his own hands and showed that he did not fully trust God. God had already told him that he would fight on the behalf of his people. Gideon’s practice, however, confirmed that he was reluctant to simply take God at his word. The tangible symbol of the wet fleece was a secondary sign of God’s faithfulness to confirm his word to the leader he had chosen. Faced with a far more daunting challenge, Jesus, at the beginning of his earthly ministry, was placed in a situation in which his trust in God’s word was challenged (Mt 4:1 – 11). Satan tempted Jesus to circumvent God’s plan and take matters into his own hands. First, after fasting for forty days, Jesus was challenged to turn stones into bread. Jesus, who would soon multiply a meager amount of fish and bread to feed the multitudes, surely had the ability to turn a stone into a piece of bread. But this action would have amounted to a failure to trust that God the Father, in his time and ways, would supply Jesus’ needs. Second, Satan tempted Jesus to throw himself off the highest point of the temple, citing that angels would protect him. This temptation would have bypassed the God-ordained path for his life, death and victorious resurrection. Third, the King of the universe was tempted to doubt God’s word and procure his own path to power and glory.
At each juncture, Jesus refused to test God’s word and faithfulness. Instead, relying on the power of God’s promises, he rejected Satan and continued to walk in confidence that God would provide. Throughout Jesus’ earthly ministry, religious leaders continued to place tests before Jesus in an effort to discount his claims to being the Son of God (Mt 16:1; Mk 10:2). Jesus refused to cater to their demands, while indicating that his public words and deeds were more than enough to show them who he was.
God’s Word and his proven faithfulness are a strong foundation for the faith of his people today. Met with the challenges of life in a fallen world, the church need not test God with trivial exercises like Gideon did here. God’s people, following the pattern set by Jesus, can stand securely on his Word and his character even in an uncertain future.
Jesus, I don’t want to doubt you like Gideon did. Help me to always take you at your word, because I know that your word never fails. Thank you for your miraculous power and your perfect timing. Amen.