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Summary: How the shadow went backward on Ahaz's stair; belief in miracles that defy science, and a recent archaeological discovery that confirms this miracle.

TURNING BACK THE CLOCK FOR HEZEKIAH

Isa. 38:1-8

INTRODUCTION

A. HUMOR

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!

B. TEXT

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.

C. THESIS

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.

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