The blessing and the importance of a fleece

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Figured this would be cuter than what a true fleece from the Old Testament looked like.

At the time, it seemed like I was doubting the bishop. Who would want to do that?

I had no reason to do so after the bishop had given me such a wonderful priesthood blessing — one filled with the Spirit and specific answers to my medical questions concerning Spencer and my employment in the future. This followed an equally powerful blessing given to me by another member of the priesthood less than a month earlier.

And yet here I was, prepared to ask a my hometeacher for yet a third blessing. If ever there was a needy child of God, it was I. Having resigned my job in order to help Spencer with online school at home, it had been a grueling few months. My tank was running near empty, and I dared hope the Lord would give me a little boost.

Much like a young man in the Old Testament, who thought he was asked to  do the seemingly impossible for the Lord.

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In Chapter 6 of Judges, we find the children of Israel in bondage to the Midianites, a group of nomadic tribes who had swept through the land from Southeastern Palestine.

In that chapter, an angel of the Lord shows up with a message to Gideon. The Lord wants him to lead Israel against the powerful Midianites, telling him in verse 16 that “thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man.”

Gideon’s response? You must have me confused with somebody else.

Gideon leading Israel from bondage against the Midianites.

Gideon leading Israel from bondage against the Midianites.

Responses such as this — whether it be in times of old or today — could surely exasperate the Lord. It would be so easy for Him to say: Move out of the way, my weak and faithless servant, and I will take care of this myself.

In his talk, “Lord I Believe,” Elder Jeffrey R. Holland reminded us that the Lord uses imperfect people to do his work. Because he has no other choice.

Except in the case of His only perfect Begotten Son, imperfect people are all God has ever had to work with. That must be terribly frustrating to Him, but He deals with it. So should we.

So it was with Gideon. Even though there’s no doubt that Gideon failed to see himself that way, an angel of the Lord refers to Gideon as “a mighty man of valor.” (Judges 6: 12)

Through the angelic messenger, the Lord continues to reassure Gideon, but doubts remain.

It takes what would be the first sign from the Lord in verse 21, before Gideon recognizes the Lord’s hand and goes to work.

He overthrows the altar of Baal in the middle of the night and prepares to face the Midianites.

And yet, as many of us do, Gideon still doubts himself. That’s apparent when he approaches the Lord one more time in verse 36.

Screen Shot 2014-11-23 at 1.22.22 PMOf course, Gideon wakes up the next morning to find the Lord had granted his request, wringing enough water out of the fleece to fill a bowl. (v. 38).

Still full of doubt, Gideon approaches the Lord yet another time. Fearing that the Lord might be angry with him, he asks for yet another fleece.

In verse 39:

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It’s important to remember that Gideon wasn’t asking for a sign. But like we all do when faced with seemingly impossible tasks, just needed extra reassurance from the Lord.

And now here I am, asking for what amounted to be a third priesthood blessing from the Lord in less than a few months.

I needed another fleece.

My hometeacher put his hands on my head, invoked his authority and sealed the anointing which had taken place.

In the blessing, he reaffirmed specific points made in the first two blessings. It was so close that it would seem that he had read a transcript of the first two blessings to make sure he got it right.

Of course, that wasn’t the case.

After he said amen, and I stood up, the scripture from the Doctrine and Covenants 6:28 came to my mind.

In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.

I once again had full confidence in the Lord. I felt peace.

I had my fleece.

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