Who’s fleecing who?
Is it ok to fleece God?
Is it me, or am I the only one that is tempted to “fleece” God all the time?
God if you want me to pay for their groceries, then let them be RIGHT behind me.
That is actually a true story.
Nili and I were newly married and barely making it financially as a couple (by barely I mean that we had to sell things to keep up with each month). I remember needing to “not shop” for food for 20 days!
Good times… Good times…
However, this particular month we were a little bit ahead and we were celebrating 2 years of marriage – so I went to paradise of penny pinching…Walmart. I wanted to pick up two things; roses and chocolate. I walked into the main entrance of the store, knowing exactly where to go. Flowers would be near produce, and chocolate would be in the back of the food department with all the other tempting snack foods that we couldn’t afford. But as soon as I walked in the doors I heard God in my spirit say
“Pay for that couple’s groceries”.
The two wearing McNeese sweaters, walking together…
Ummm – I only need to get roses and chocolate – plus we don’t have a lot of money!
“Pay for their groceries”
So, I stalked them – walking around Walmart, watching what they were buying. Battling with God while secretly wandering why they weren’t just buying ramen noodles. I even disqualified them to God, “they aren’t even married, probably living together”. They may be druggies for all I now GOD!!!
All of this, and I was still trying to figure out a way to NOT do what God told me to do.
Finally the big fleece, I told God – “If they are RIGHT behind me in line, then I will pay for their groceries”.
Off into line I went, and 3 people got behind me – none of them were the couple. Home free…
If you are ever tempted to fleece God – I’d really suggest that you take the time to read Judges 6 where we learn about Gideon and his call to lead the armies of Israel. It was while I was reading that passage recently that I realize – fleeces are to affirm what God is telling us.
When I look at the passage, I realize that I’ve used fleeces the wrong way – to hear what God is trying to say to me, instead of confirming something He as already told me to do. That is two different things! So, to help us to better understand how to fleece and when to fleece. here are a couple characteristics that I found while reading this passage:
1 – Fleeces lead to big risks, not away from big risks. I have found myself trying to fleece God on the smallest things, do I purchase that vehicle, do I pay for someone’s groceries. Not exactly the right place to fleece God. I have a well respected leader in my life that we went to lunch. He ordered a nice dish with a side of asparagus (I don’t think I have EVER ordered asparagus in my life!). Anyways, when we were about halfway through our meal the waiter came and asked, “Were the asparagus good?”. And to my surprise this man of God that I look up to said, “No, they are quite aweful”. Ha, I was in shock as he explained to the waiter that they really shouldn’t serve it like that. After the waiter left, I was intrigued so I asked… “why did you say they were bad”. Of course his answer was simple, and impactful – “I said that to the waiter, because asparagus were aweful. Then he leaned in to tell me some beautiful truth, but I wasn’t ready for this one. Ben, we only get so many lies in life, I am not going to waste mine on food… True story, but it applies to fleecing, in my opinion. If it’s so big that the course of your life could be changed, go for it.
2 – Fleeces come from a voluntary broken place of sacrifice and honesty. When I look at how Gideon approached God it wasn’t from a place of depth of relationship initially, but Gideon took care his relationship with God WELL before he fleeced God. He took the time to let God address his insecurity, his status, his family history. Gideon lay bare before the Lord letting Him clean Gideon up in order to become the leader of a revolution. He also dealt with his doubt in God as a savior – Judges 6:13 Gideon said to Him, “O my lord,[a] if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.”
3 – Fleeces come with apologies (and an admission of lack). When we read the story of Gideon, he is literally apologizing for needing to fleece God. I don’t think that fleeces are necessarily a part of the process, it is an ownership of our fear or lack of faith. Try don’t come from frustration or last hope flip a coin.
4 – Fleeces don’t lead to comfort. I have found that everytime I have used fleecing, it has led to more work and harder circumstances – because it is a CALL that God is demanding on me. This is a good one, cause the right time for fleeces is when God is going to be challenging the next place. You will need to go back and KNOW that God told you to do whatever it is.
Back to our story – here I am, feeling off the hook since there are 3 people in line and I don’t even see the couple. Fleeced God, got out of what I didn’t want to do… Good…
Then the family that was behind me starts talking about all the things they forgot, and the mom says “let’s go back”. They leave.
Then the older couple that was behind them remembers that he left his wallet in the car, so she steps out of line to wait for him. They leave – one to go…
Finally the guy who had automotive stuff is still behind me and no sign of the couple – I am still good to go! I begin to place my two items on the belt when I hear the sound of a guy and a girl talking behind me. I don’t want to turn and look. If they are there, what happened to the automotive guy?!?!?!
And there they are, the McNeese couple, living in sin together doing drugs and running a Mofia outfit out of their dorm (the game of disqualifying people – if you don’t pick up on my sarcasm). My heart sinks selfishly…
I pay for my chocolates and roses while I see the MANY items being loaded up on the belt by the “couple”. I walk off, hearing in my head and my heart the conversations I’ve been having with God when I feel that moment…
Ben, you set the criteria – and I followed it. Will you follow me?
I turned around realizing that I had “Fleeced” God and He had answered me – I just didn’t like the answer (but eventually I LOVED IT). I went back to the couple and I swiped my bank card and paid for the items. They were bewildered at the fact I would pay for their groceries (and maybe the attitude I had when I did it). But, I managed to turn to them when they asked why, and said, “because God loves you so much”.
They walked off with paid groceries and God’s love
I walked off learning how to listen more intently to God, and maybe not fleece – just listen…
Let me be careful, I don’t believe that God gets offended at our inquiries. In fact He welcomes them. Our heart is the true condition that we have to keep before his eyes.
I hope you were blessed!