Focal passages: Judges 6:14-16, 36-40; Matthew 16:1-4; Romans 12:1-2
Growing up, I heard adults say, “If the Lord wills, I will do thus and so.”
I considered the statement old fashioned and never used it.
I now realize they were on biblical ground, seeking divine direction.
Paul wrote, “I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills” (1 Cor. 4:19), and the apostle James scolded, “You should say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will do this or that.’ But as it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil” (Jas. 4:15-16).
Gideon demanded a sign to confirm God’s will when it seems no clearer revelation was possible.
We consider Gideon a Bible hero, but when we first meet him in Judges 6, we might label him the patron saint of all doubters. Israel was at low ebb due to their disobedience, but Gideon blamed God for their situation.
So, when God sent an angel to him, saying, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior” (v. 12), Gideon answered in today’s jargon, “Lord, if You’re with us, where’s the evidence? You brought us out of Egypt only to abandon us into the hand of Midian. Where are the wonders our fathers told us about?” (v. 13.)
God answered, “Go and deliver Israel from Midian.”
Gideon argued that his tribe, Menassah, was the weakest tribe, and he was the youngest in his family.
We sense God’s response: “Great! Since you can’t conquer Midian, maybe you’ll let Me do it through you.”
Still demanding proof of God’s will, Gideon “put out the fleece” twice (vs. 36-39).
He even apologized to God, revealing disbelief and rebellion.
Even though God honored Gideon’s request, we should not follow Gideon’s example as a way of determining God’s will for our lives.
Jesus refused the Pharisees and Sadducees’ request for a sign from heaven because they refused to accept the signs they already had (Matt. 16:1-4).
As we submit our lives and minds to God’s purposes, and become more like Christ and less like the world, we’ll be better able to discern His will (Rom. 12:1-2).
God can change us when we’re willing to be changed, but even God cannot possess the self-possessed who remain filled with their own spirits. When we invite Christ to possess us, our lives will show it, and we’ll see people respond.
Next week we’ll study Jonah … if the Lord wills.