" 'This is the Lord's sign to you that the Lord will do what he has promised: I will make the shadow cast by the sun go back the ten steps it has gone down on the stairway of Ahaz.' So the sunlight went back the ten steps it had gone."- Isaiah 38:7-8
I’ve been reading the book of Isaiah lately, and recently came across this mind-boggling story. In this chapter, King Hezekiah has taken ill to the point of death. Out of desperation, he prays to the Lord asking for mercy, and that the Lord would extend his life. And the Lord’s response is YES – I will add fifteen years to your life.
Wow, imagine that.
I have no doubt that Hezekiah was elated when he heard the Lord’s response, but part of me wonders what his initial gut reaction was. Surprise? Shock? Or do you think He was like, “Bam! I did it! Prayer is powerful! And God is GOOD!”
Whatever his initial reaction was, it was clearly accompanied by a hint of disbelief because he asked the Lord for a sign. He wanted to be sure that he was sure that God was really going to do what He said He was going to do. How human is that.
If God told me something so bold as healing me from a terminal illness and adding fifteen years to my life, I’d like to think I would let his Yes be Yes and believe Him without a doubt. But let’s be honest, I’d be right there with Hezekiah saying, “Really? Prove it.”
Here’s the best part of the story. As if extending Hezekiah’s life wasn’t extraordinary enough, the Lord again honored Hezekiah’s request and gave him a sign that He would do what He promised. The Lord said, “I will make the shadow cast by the sun go back the ten steps it has gone down on the stairway of Ahaz.” And it was just as He said; the sunlight went back the ten steps.
You guys, the Lord MOVED THE SUN. That is no small thing!
And the crazy part is, this is not only time the Lord moved the sun for one of His people. In Joshua 10 you’ll find the story of when the Israelites were in a battle against the Amorites. The Lord was with them and promised they would win the war – He was going to give the enemy into their hands. But as the day was nearing end, and the sun was beginning to set, Joshua prayed, “Sun, stand still over Gibeon, and you moon, over the Valley of Aijalon.” And guess what?! IT DID! The Lord heard his prayer, stopped the sun in the sky and delayed it from going down for about a full day so the battle could be finished. (Joshua 10:13)
These incredible stories are equal parts amazing and convicting. How often do we assume that IF we are going to hear from the Lord it will most likely come in the form of a whisper or a gentle nudge? Friends, the Lord spares no expense to make His word clear to us.
In the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) Jesus says that all authority and heaven and on earth has been given to Him. And then in John 16 through the Holy Spirit, we have the power and ability to ask Him for anything. Sure, it is fully possible that His answer may be no – but there’s also a large possibility that He might say YES. He moved the sun back for Hezekiah and He can do it again if He wants to.
What if the only thing preventing God from giving us a bold sign or answer to prayer is the mere fact that we haven’t asked Him for one?
Let’s not underestimate the power and intentionality of our magnificent God. He is bold, and through His son, Jesus, we get the opportunity to ask Him to show it. So let’s start! Let’s practice asking God in small ways and BIG ways – and let’s honor Him by showing Him we truly, confidently, wholly, believe that He can do it.
This is something I’m working on, and I’m praying that you’ll join me.