Gideon’s fleece test –– Was it narrative or normative? I believe it must be considered narrative, a true story described, yet not prescribed. It is not to be taken as normative, meaning that it does not teach a norm, or a timeless method, on how to discover God’s will. “Put out your fleece” is not the best advice to be taken from this Scripture for those seeking God’s will.
Perhaps a better timeless principle to see is God’s patience with us and His willingness to reveal His will to us. He met Gideon where he was, based on his level of spiritual maturity. Gideon had some faith, but still needed more encouragement. He had already taken action to obey God’s call, yet along the way he needed reassurance that he was in fact called of God. He didn’t doubt God. He doubted himself. And God answered his “fleece test” to help him overcome his self-doubt.
Jesus warned that, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign” (Matt. 16:4). So, we must be careful in how we apply Gideon’s story. It is better to believe God’s word and obey it without question. But it is good to know that God is patient with us when we struggle with self-doubt along the way.