Hezekiah and God, Part Two
2 Kings 20:1-11, Shadow Reversed
Referenced Joshua 10:12-15, Sun Stands Still
If we’ve ever had questions about the scope of miracles found in scripture, there are a few miracles (at least in my mind) that defy reasoning. That’s because those involved changes that impacted the earth, sun, and maybe even the universe. The miracle found in Joshua 10:12-15 involved stopping time...it’s the day the sun stood still for nearly 24 hours.
In 2 Kings 20:1-11 God did two miracles. The first healing miracle God did for King Hezekiah was just the start. God healed him and promised him he would live 15 more years. That miracle wasn’t the end of the account between King Hezekiah, the Prophet Isaiah, and God.
How could King Hezekiah know God’s new plan for him?
The answer is...the king asked God for a sign. In 2 Kings 20:8-11, the king asked God for a second miracle. “And Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “What is the sign that the Lord will heal me, and that I shall go up to the house of the Lord the third day?” Then Isaiah said, “This is the sign to you from the Lord, that the Lord will do the thing which He has spoken: shall the shadow go forward ten degrees or go backward ten degrees?” And Hezekiah answered, “It is an easy thing for the shadow to go down ten degrees; no, but let the shadow go backward ten degrees.”
So Isaiah the prophet cried out to the Lord, and He brought the shadow ten degrees backward, by which it had gone down on the sundial of Ahaz.”
Now, this was no easy feat!
The first scenario would have required a miracle to have God move the shadow (the sun) ten degrees forward. As I understand it, if a shadow is set to be in a particular position because of the position of the earth to the sun, God would have moved the sun so the shadow would go forward ten degrees. King Hezekiah considered that an easy thing. So, He asked God for a miracle that involved moving the shadow (sun) ten degrees BACK, thus reversing time. That would have to mean it added time to a day.
Regardless of the result, according to verse 11, God brought the shadow back ten degrees as a sign that everything He said to the Prophet Isaiah was true.
While a full scientific analysis may exist for this and other miracles involving the movement of the earth, the bigger point to see here is that God moved the shadow back to give a sign to King Hezekiah. What’s remarkable, really remarkable is that God did it just because King Hezekiah ASKED.
When I was younger I used to ask God for a sign. I’m not sure why I wanted a sign, but looking back I think it was a faith builder for me. As a result of my request, God did provide road signs. Being in ministry sometimes means relocating. Many pastors (at least 30 years ago) would move from church to church every 3-5 years. Over the course of 25 years we moved 5 times. Every time we moved, it meant packing up the house and relocating 6 people. All six of us were impacted by the move so each time we moved I prayed specifically for all six people. I asked God for a sign for all of us so we would feel like we belonged in the new place. Beyond that, God gave us a special blessing for four of the moves.
In one town, my daughter met her husband at church. In another town, my oldest son met his wife (and it was a meeting in a coffee shop downtown). In another town my youngest son met his wife at a youth gathering for a neighboring church. My middle son met his wife in college in Liberty, Missouri but I think that was a good sign as well.
Each time we moved, God was saying He had a plan for each one of us. At the time I didn’t know my child would marry the person they met, but now as I look back I see the intentionality of God’s plan.
God did it just because he wanted me to see how much He loved all of us.
God gave King Hezekiah a sign because he asked for a sign. In the case of the second miracle God did for King Hezekiah, it was a sign that reverberated throughout the universe. If God gave a sign like that to King Hezekiah, the God will also give us a sign when we ask for it.
Although it’s been a while since I’ve asked God for a sign, studying this miracle reminded me that getting a sign from God is a little like God giving me a nudge or a hug. I was reminded that while it’s just one way God speaks to us, it’s good to remember how much God loves us!
So...Today’s Spiritual Practice is: A Sign
If you have been praying about something and you want know what God is doing, ask God to show you a sign.
In God, Deborah