Waltke On the “Laying Out the Fleece” Method

One of the lessons from the life of Jesus is that people will not turn to God simply because they see a miracle. Instead, they will simply ask for another miracle. So God leaves the miraculous for those few great moments when a miracle is the best way to alter the course of history. Please do not misunderstand me: I do believe in a God who can perform miracles, even in our day. But I don’t find that miracles are the course of events for Christian direction, so I think “laying out the fleece” is generally the lazy man’s way to discern the will of God. It requires no work, little discipline, and almost no character development. God has a different program of guidance.

Finding the Will of God: A Pagan Notion, p. 51

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3 comments

  1. That’s an interesting quote. Having just read The Cross and the Switchblade (and believing Wilkerson’s testimony), I find that Walke raises a good question. I haven’t really used that “fleece” method in my life, but I’m sure that many of my AG friends would prefer to lean in that direction.

    I can’t deny, though, that Waltke is right that “It requires no work, little discipline, and almost no character development.” But believing that our God is a God of grace whose mercies are new every morning, I don’t think we can rule out the possibility of getting an answer when we ‘lay out a fleece’ before the Lord. Nor do I think we should tell anyone who does ‘lay out the fleece’ asking the Lord a hard question that they are less spiritual, less disciplined, less mature than us– UNLESS their answer is clearly there in the Bible, and they’re just using the fleece as an excuse to tarry. And in that case, it’s probably right to gently rebuke them using the Scriptures.

    And I’d love to hear your response to this, Pete.

  2. Do respond Pete. I think Waltke, who you know better than I, is precisely calling those who use “fleece” as a method less spiritual etc. I think he would respond that the asker is free to do all that is not actually sin and seeking specific ungiven “guidance” is what he calls “pagan.”

    What do you say Pete?

  3. Thanks for the questions, guys. I think the key word to note in this quote is “generally”. What I hear him doing is making a distinction between use and reliance on this method. Even in this passage he’s acknowledging that on occasion God will use extraordinary/miraculous means…his focus is on those who rely on this method as a general course of determining God’s will because it leads to an expectation of the extraordinary guidance at the expense of more “mundane” (though more frequently found in Scripture) means.

    I wish I knew Waltke better…but mainly it’s through books and one audio course.

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