As we continue to explore the topic of knowing and following Daddy God’s voice, here’s a question that pops up occasionally: Is it okay to ask God for a sign? Let’s examine two passages of Scripture that address this concept.
- “Gideon said to God, ‘If you really intend to use me to deliver Israel, as you promised, then give me a sign as proof.’… The Lord did as he asked” (Judg. 6:36,38 NET, bold emphasis mine).
- “Then some of the experts in the law along with some Pharisees answered him, ‘Teacher, we want to see a sign from you.’ But he answered them, ‘An evil and adulterous generation asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah’”. (Matt. 12:38-39, NET, bold emphasis mine).
What is the difference here? Both Gideon and the religious leaders of Jesus’ day asked for a sign. Gideon received what he requested. The religious leaders did not.
As we dig into the two stories, we find the answer. Gideon’s heart was right toward God. In spite of his insecurity, he was willing to obey God’s risky-seeming commands. In fact, his first act of submission – tearing down his father’s Baal altar and Asherah pole – put his very life in jeopardy. This was some costly obedience.
On the other hand, the religious leaders’ hearts were at the opposite extreme of the submissiveness spectrum. Their souls were so closed off to God’s ways that He compared them to whitewashed tombs: attractive on the outside but full of deathly rot on the inside. Their request for a sign was a prideful demand for proof, rather than a sincere, humble petition. It came out of a spirit of unbelief and hardheartedness. These men, in all truth, were rebelliously challenging Jesus’ authority rather than submitting to it.
The Lord responded to the religious leaders with a warning. In contrast, He responded to Gideon with copious amounts of encouragement. What’s more, Gideon asked for a total of three signs, and God granted all three to him… plus one extra that he hadn’t even asked for. I see Daddy’s gentleness in this narrative; tenderly, eagerly, liberally making available to His son all the reassurance he needed to take on such a humanly impossible task.
So, returning to the original question. Is it okay for you and me to ask God for a sign? I believe the answer is yes, as long as our hearts are in a place of humble, obedient submission.
He sees your heart, you who are longing to please Him. He delights in your desire to follow Him, far more profoundly than you can even begin to imagine. Gideon was frail. He was made of dust. He was unsure. He was hiding. He felt insignificant. So many times, that’s how you and I feel as we travel along the road of God’s purposes. The Lord had indescribably deep compassion on His son’s vulnerabilities. And He has indescribably deep compassion on yours.
He was willing to provide all the assurance Gideon needed, to move forward in following His apparently perilous instructions. Every single time Gideon asked, He answered. And then He even threw in more than requested. He is truly able to do exceedingly, abundantly more than we ask or imagine, when it comes to guiding us with clarity and strengthening us for the path He lays out ahead of us.
He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. If you long to walk in His will, He will lovingly, open-handedly deliver everything you need to do so. He will show you His plan. And then He will confirm it to you again, and again, and again. I have actually found that He will confirm His word to me dozens of times, if I ask Him to. He never gets tired of providing that important affirmation that we have perceived His leading correctly. How deeply grateful am I for this endless generosity!
One thing I will add, though, is this: God reserves the right to be God, to be Master. While He will always offer confirmation when we need it, it may not come in the way we were expecting. Sometimes it does. (Gideon got his wet fleece; then his dry fleece.) Sometimes, though, it doesn’t. Daddy is infinitely creative in His communication. Often there are times when He will find a different way to confirm His will, than the one we were envisioning or requesting. However, one way or another, He will always answer the prayer for clarity. When it comes to guidance, just like any other need…
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” (Matt. 7:7-11, NKJV).
If you are sincerely asking Him for direction, would your perfectly loving heavenly Daddy, who gave everything for you, possibly allow you to be led astray?
Have you ever asked God for a sign? How did He answer?