Isaiah said, “This shall be the sign to you from the Lord, that the Lord will do the thing that He has spoken: shall the shadow go forward ten steps or go back ten steps?” 10 So Hezekiah answered, “It is easy for the shadow to decline ten steps; no, but let the shadow turn backward ten steps,” (20:9-10).
Hezekiah needed a sign. The Scriptures do not elaborate on the reason behind his need, or why the declaration of his healing pronounced by God’s prophet did not supply the confirmation he longed for. Perhaps he was confused, for the previous words heard from Isaiah had been in complete contradiction to the promise of healing now set before him.
In those days Hezekiah became mortally ill. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came to him and said to him, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Set your house in order, for you shall die and not live,’” (20:1).
And after receiving the shattering news, along with instructions to get his house (and kingdom) in order, Hezekiah in his devastation, resorted to his norm, calling upon his God, both in faith and in anguish.
Then he turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, saying, 3 “Remember now, O Lord, I beseech You, how I have walked before You in truth and with a whole heart and have done what is good in Your sight.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly, (20:2-3).
And God was moved. And yes, because we know He is omniscient and sovereign, we could argue He had already intended to heal and add life to His faithful servant, for His sake and the sake of His covenant with David.
Before Isaiah had gone out of the middle court, the word of the Lord came to him, saying, 5 “Return and say to Hezekiah the leader of My people, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of your father David, “I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; behold, I will heal you. On the third day you shall go up to the house of the Lord. 6 I will add fifteen years to your life, and I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city for My own sake and for My servant David’s sake,”’” (20:4-6).
But somehow, God was moved by prayer. And somehow, prayers work in harmony with His Sovereignty and move Him to demonstrate His promises through what we might deem as too difficult. And in one act of His amazing grace, He proves nothing at all is too difficult for Him Who Turns Back the Shadow
Consider Him Who Turns Back the Shadow
With one Word, everything changes. He Turns Back the Shadow of Darkness, Sin, Death, Despair and Guilt.
Let all the earth fear the Lord;
Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.
9 For He spoke, and it was done;
He commanded, and it stood fast. (Psalm 33:8-9).
- He Turns Back the Shadow as He Speaks Light over Darkness.
- In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. 3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness, (Genesis 1:1-4).
- He Turns Back the Shadow as He Speaks Forgiveness over Sin
- In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, (Ephesians 1:7).
- He Turns Back the Shadow as He Speaks Life over Death
- For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord, (Romans 6:23).
- He Turns Back the Shadow as He Speaks Hope over Despair
- Why are you in despair, O my soul?
And why have you become disturbed within me?
Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him
For the help of His presence, (Psalm 42:5).
- And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; 4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; 5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us, (Romans 5:3-5).
- Why are you in despair, O my soul?
- He Turns Back the Shadow as He Speaks Freedom over Guilt
- For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (Hebrews 9:13-14).
How do we respond to Him Who Turns Back the Shadow?
It was February 17, 2020. It was after 4:00 pm, and my day with Him had begun before 4:00 in the morning. It had been a good day, a blessed day of studying His Word. And although the sun was not shining outside, the day had been filled with His light.
And then the text came, from my dearly loved family member. The results from that day’s doctor visit. Not at all the news I had been desperately praying for. And I found myself devastated, like Hezekiah, and so longing to hear Him reverse the prognosis. I needed Him to Turn Back the Shadow of Sickness and Death. I needed the light to come in, the way it fills the room with just the flip of a switch. Turning Back the Shadow would be easier for Him than flipping a light switch, for He only has to speak and it will be done.
And it was in this very place that I found myself grateful. For He knew. He knew exactly what that day would bring. And He knew I would need to be instantly reminded that He Turns Back the Shadow.
And I know I am not alone in this place, filled with the opposing forces of both anguish and faith.
So, I invite you to join with me in response. Today, and every day, let us pray, that by His grace and strength, we will choose to remember, believe and trust Him Who Turns Back the Shadow. Because while we know nothing is too difficult for Him and He can do absolutely anything, He will never force our faith and trust. He can do anything, yet He allows us the choice.
So in our response, let us choose faith; let us choose to trust and embrace His will, even while, like Hezekiah, we may weep bitterly before Him.
And as we do, we can be convinced He will grow us in His assurance. Let us choose faith with certainty that He Will Turn Back the Shadow as He Speaks Faith and Love over Doubt and Fear.
Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him,
On those who hope for His lovingkindness,
19 To deliver their soul from death
And to keep them alive in famine.
20 Our soul waits for the Lord;
He is our help and our shield.
21 For our heart rejoices in Him,
Because we trust in His holy name.
22 Let Your lovingkindness, O Lord, be upon us,
According as we have hoped in You, (Psalm 33:18-22).
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love, (1 John 4:18).