TURNING BACK THE CLOCK FOR HEZEKIAH
1. During a church service a man came up to the preacher to request prayer for his hearing.
2. So the preacher got a bottle of oil and anointed the man. He put his hands on the man’s head and prayed vigorously.
3. Then mimicking Christ’s healing of the deaf man, the preacher put his fingers in the man’s ear canals and prayed again.
4. At last he said, “How is your hearing now?” The man replied, “My hearing isn’t until next week!”
5. We need to make sure we know what to pray for!
1. In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said, “This is what the Lord says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover.” 2 Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, 3 “Remember, Lord, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly. 4 Then the word of the Lord came to Isaiah: 5 “Go and tell Hezekiah, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will add fifteen years to your life. 6 And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city. 7 “‘This is the Lord’s sign to you that the Lord will do what he has promised: 8 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 down.
1. We’re going to look at some possibilities of how the shadow went back, belief in miracles that defy science, and a recent archeological discovery that confirms this miracle.
2. The title of this message is, “Turning Back the Clock For Hezekiah.”
I. HOW DID THE SHADOW GO BACK?
A. NATURAL ATTEMPTS TO EXPLAIN THE PHENOMENON
1. The EARTH CHANGED ITS DIRECTION OF ROTATION answer is problematic. There would be a great deal of disruption doing this – the oceans would have kept going and caused a huge bulge of water and then tidal waves that could have covered continents. So that idea is unlikely.
2. HEZEKIAH WENT BACKWARD IN TIME answer isn't very appealing. That's not really making the shadow go backwards, is it.
3. AN ECLIPSE. Mr. Bosanquet ('Transactions of Society of Bibl. Archaeology,' vol. 3. pp. 34-40) argued that it was an eclipse.
4. Other anonymous sources posit the light was altered by REFRACTION.
5. If a METEOR went over at that moment it could briefly outshine the sun and cause another, stronger shadow that went back ten steps from where the sun's shadow was. Depending on the direction of the meteor, it could look like the shadow is going back ten steps.
B. FUNDAMENTALS OF WHAT HAPPENED
1. To move a shadow you must move either the light source, or the object blocking the light source (or both).
2. We are using the Earth as the frame of reference here, so I'll say that the sun is moving (even though it's really the Earth spinning).
3. Now, to make the shadow go backwards (hard) involves either changing the position of the light source, or the object that is making the shadow.
4. To be exact, the Bible doesn’t necessarily say the sun moved; it says the shadow went back 10 degrees. But the sun was making the shadow to start with, so it’s logical to assume the sun moved backward.
5. The sun was given to “serve as signs to mark seasons, days and years” Gen. 1:14. God wanted to demonstrate that He was “turning back the clock” for Hezekiah – giving him 15 years he would have lost.
II. THE PLACE OF FAITH
A. NO DIFFERENT THAN ANY OTHER MIRACLE
1. Ultimately this is no more difficult to believe than Genesis 1:1 when God created the universe, or the Virgin Birth, or the Resurrection of Jesus.
2. As Hebrews 11:6 says, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” To believe in the invisible God takes faith. If you believe Genesis 1:1, you should have no trouble with any lesser miracle.
3. The tendency of many is to feel the necessity of explaining the miraculous in terms of science. We don’t need to; this is pandering to the carnal mind and caring about what people’s opinions of us will be. The axhead “floated;” believe it or don’t.
4. In Joshua 10:13, God held the sun and moon still for 12 more hours while Joshua finished fighting the Amorites. There are at least 11 traditions, scattered over the globe, of a day that extended 12 hours longer!
B. OBSERVED BY OTHERS THAN HEZEKIAH
1. The King of Babylon saw the miracle occur, because he subsequently sent ambassadors to inquire concerning "the wonder that was done in the land" (2 Chron. 32:31).
2. An ancient Ugaritic text states, btt ym hdt, hyr `rbt, sps tgrh, rsp (KTU 1.78) which is translated, "In the second month (March) the gates of day were renewed after the setting sun by the gatekeeper Rsp (god of the underworld; which some identify with the planet Mars)." See the journal Nature 338 (1989), March 16, 204 and 238. The Biblical date of Hezekiah’s miracle was sometime in 713 B.C. (Some try to identify this event with an eclipse, but that’s a naturalistic interpretation of the Ugarit text.)
3. Josephus states, "And when Isaiah had asked him what sign he desired to be exhibited, he desired that he would make the shadow of the sun, which he had already made to go down ten steps in his house, to return again to the same place, and to make it as it was before" (Whiston, 309). (Ibid, 309). This seems similar to when the Chinese said, "the day dawned twice." [Institute for Biblical & Scientific Studies]
4. If we needed confirmation that the sun did go backwards, there are a number of collaborators. I believe what God says over what any people say. He’s never been wrong yet. People certainly have!
III. HEZEKIAH’S LASTING TESTAMENT
A. ARCHEOLOGICAL CONFIRMATION
1. For 5 years an ancient clay seal had remained in a closet in Jerusalem’s Institute of Archeology. After the seal was dug up at the foot of the southern part of Jerusalem’s old city wall (Ophel excavations), examination failed to establish the significance of the nearly 3,000-year-old object.
2. But then a researcher carefully scrutinized the letters on the seal, resulting in a major discovery. The inscription, written in ancient Hebrew reads, “Belonging to Hezekiah [son of] Ahaz King of Judah.”
3. At the center of the seal is a two-winged sun surrounded by two images symbolizing life. The archeologists who discovered the seal believe that King Hezekiah began using this seal as a symbol of God’s protection after the Lord healed him of a life-threatening illness (Isa. 38:1-8). [Daily Bread, Oct. 11, 2017]
4. Since Hezekiah used a depiction of the sun to celebrate his miracle, HE EVIDENTLY BELIEVED THE MIRACLE INVOLVED THE SUN!
5. Since the sun has wings, this may emphasis the unnatural movement – out of its normal course – of the sun.
B. BIBLICAL CONNECTION
1. This seal is extremely important, for it verifies the story about Hezekiah’s healing by tying together the flying sun, the symbols of life, with his name.
2. As experts say, most likely, after Hezekiah’s healing, he had his seal changed to commemorate his healing. What an awesome testimony of a fabulous biblical miracle that many have tried to disparage!
3. This gives us fresh reasons to affirm the Bible as 100% true even in the most unusual statements.
4. “This Gospel is the power of God to everyone who believes” Rom. 1:16. It has the power to transform people. “Thy Word is truth” Jesus said (John 17:17).
5. The Bible is NOT of human origin, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” 1 Tim. 3:16.
6. It is completely reliable, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” Mt. 24:35.
7. If God will intervene for Hezekiah for healing, in answer to prayer, He will intervene for you and I also. He is Jehovah-Rapha, the Lord our Physician. “And with His stripes we are healed!”
1. The evangelist Harry Rimmer was speaking to Christians interested in military evangelism. During the meeting, Mr. Rimmer was shown a New Testament by a man, one stained with the blood of his son, who died at Pearl Harbor.
2. The man said, “Yes, this little book is very precious. It’s stained with the blood of my son.”
3. Mr. Rimmer paused for a moment, then held up his personal Bible and said, “God feels the same way about this Book. He loves it too. Its pages are stained with the blood of His Son.”
B. THE CALL
1. God is as compassionate as He is powerful! The One who orders the movement of the sun can certainly move in our hearts and lives!
2. Trust Him and His Word! Prayer for healing and salvation.
[Daily Bread, Oct. 11, 2017; “Biblical King's seal discovered in dump site” by Will Heilpern, CNN, Fri December 4, 2015]