God, If You Do This, I Promise To…

How often does some form of this bargaining plea cross our minds?

“God….If you ______, I promise to ______.”

Fill in the blanks with our chosen sign to give us the direction of the Almighty.

We seek after prophetic words. A well-known prophet is in town and we attend hoping to hear some direct line of communication from God himself, revealing something we’ve never considered.

We play Bible roulette with our questions. Our Bible flops open to a passage designed to inspire our future actions, only it reads some obscure passage about judgment on Babylon. Take two. Try Again!

We’ve even developed “Christian” words for this practice. We put out a “fleece” because that is what Gideon did in Judges 6.

These are well-intentioned, but misguided activities.

Prophecy in Scripture is meant to be closer to encouragement than future direction. In fact, one could argue we shouldn’t be responding to new information we’ve never considered via the prophetic word. Instead, prophecy should confirm what our daily walk with God already is focusing on. We don’t need a prophet to communicate with us, we have God. God living in us!

Bible Roulette can work (it has once in my early days), but rarely does. The odds of finding a verse in the Bible directing us which person to marry or what job to take are pretty slim. More than revealing our future, the Bible reveals God. We should pursue Him, rather than some form of casino-like divination tool.

Laying a “fleece” before God, does have its roots in Scripture. As with all Old Testament narratives, we must ask if what the characters did was the right move. Gideon is not a model of steadfast faith, rather he is an insecure individual needing constant confirmation. Is this the approach we want to employ?

fleeces and signs

The amazing part of all this.

God is so gracious!

While none of these are the ideal way to pursue God, He often responds anyway. God so desires us to seek Him, even when we do in less than stellar ways, He acts!

Oh the mercy of God on a doubting people!

Ideally, we should not have to resort to magic formulas or rituals to somehow uncover the will of God.

God can speak with fleeces and signs, but He would prefer another way.

He desires to be With Us! He would like to walk with us communicating along the way. Even if we take a mis-step, the God I serve is big enough to help me return to the right track.

People often inquire how we made major decisions like moving to Africa or adopting our son.

The stories are always quite anti-climatic. No visions, prophecies, or writing in the sky. There was no old African women appearing to me in a dream beckoning me to “Come to Africa.”

It was a little by little, step by step walk with God.

I think that is how God wants it.

Photo By Alicja Colon

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