Isaiah’s Miracle Prayer: Did the Sun Go Backward? — 2 Kings 20:11.

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Isaiah 20:11 

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.

 

Isaiah’s prayer recorded here brought about a miracle as a sign to Hezekiah that God would give him fifteen more years to live (2 Kings 20:5-6).  As it happened, Isaiah gave Hezekiah a choice of miracles; to make a shadow on a set of steps to go forward ten steps (this was the normal direction the shadow would go, but speeded up) or backward ten steps.  Well, Hezekiah chose the most impossible miracle—for the shadow to go backward.  And so Isaiah “cried to the Lord” and the shadow went backward—an incredible miracle wrought through one single faith-filled prayer.

 

But what was the miracle?  Was the miracle brought about by a means of light refraction, or did God actually turn the earth back upon its axis? The following commentaries may give some ideas.

 

Commentary by Adam Clark, Adam Clark’s Commentary

We cannot suppose that these ten degrees meant ten hours; there were ten divisions of time on this dial: and perhaps it would not be right to suppose that the sun went ten degrees back in the heavens, or that the earth turned back upon its axis from east to west in a contrary direction to its natural course. But the miracle might be effected by means of refraction, for a ray of light we know can be varied or refracted from a right line by passing through a dense medium; and we know also, by means of the refracting power of the atmosphere, the sun, when near rising and setting, seems to be higher above the horizon than he really is, and, by horizontal refraction, we find that the sun appears above the horizon when he is actually below it, and literally out of sight: therefore, by using dense clouds or vapours, the rays of light in that place might be refracted from their direct course ten, or any other number of degrees; so that the miracle might have been wrought by occasioning this extraordinary refraction, rather than by disturbing the course of the earth, or any other of the celestial bodies.

(from Adam Clarke’s Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1996, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

 

 

Matthew Henry’s Commentary

He cried unto the Lord by special warrant and direction, and God brought the sun back ten degrees, which appeared to Hezekiah (for the sign was intended for him) by the going back of the shadow upon the dial of Ahaz, which, it is likely, he could see through his chamber-window; and the same was observed upon all other dials, even in Babylon, 2 Chron 32:31. Whether this retrograde motion of the sun was gradual or per saltum—suddenly—whether it went back at the same pace that it used to go forward, which would make the day ten hours longer than usualor whether it darted back on a sudden, and, after continuing a little while, was restored again to its usual place, so that no change was made in the state of the heavenly bodies (as the learned bishop Patrick thinks)—we are not told; but this work of wonder shows the power of God in heaven as well as on earth, the great notice he takes of prayer, and the great favour he bears to his chosen. The most plausible idolatry of the heathen was theirs that worshipped the sun; yet that was hereby convicted of the most egregious folly and absurdity, for by this it appeared that their god was under the check of the God of Israel. Dr. Lightfoot suggests that the fifteen songs of degrees (Ps. cxx., &c.) might perhaps be so called because selected by Hezekiah to be sung to his stringed instruments (Isa 38:20) in remembrance of the degrees on the dial which the sun went back and the fifteen years added to his life; and he observes how much of these psalms is applicable to Jerusalem’s distress and deliverance and Hezekiah’s sickness and recovery.

(from Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible, PC Study Bible Formatted Electronic Database Copyright © 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All Rights reserved.)

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The Building of the Temple and the City of Jerusalem in the Millennial Kingdom

Originally posted on Studying Bible Prophecy:

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 Ezekiel temple

Click on picture above to see a Video  of the Temple

Since the temple and Jerusalem will be the center of worship and government, it will be important to begin construction of these places as soon as possible when the millennium begins.  We have already mapped out their locations, but were you aware that they will be located on top of a mountain?  Actually, Ezekiel 40:2 tells us that it will be on a “very high mountain”; and in Isaiah 2:2, we read that it will be on “the chief of the mountains.”

As we have previously indicated, most of Palestine will be relatively flat, so I take it that this area where the temple and the city lie, will be raised up high above all else.  I’m sure it will be a beautiful sight.  David describes the sight in this song.

Psalm 48:1-3
Great is the Lord…

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Choosing Trouble Instead of Comfort

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Yielding to the way of trouble (when we know it is God’s will) may sound a little odd or even crazy, but God uses trouble for our good.  He uses it to discipline and correct us, to keep us holy and to bless us.

“Trouble [says E. M. Bounds] is God’s servant… [It] comes with [His] permission… [and is] under [His] control… [It] is one of His most efficient agents in fulfilling His purposes and in perfecting His saints.”

Now there are many that would ask, “Why could God be so cruel as to bring us trouble?”  Bounds says this: “God is sufficiently wise and able to lay his hand upon it [trouble] without assuming responsibility for its origin… He works it into his plans and purposes… [He makes it] the disciplinary part of [His] moral government.”

Therefore, we must remind ourselves that if we are truly and fully yielding ourselves to God, we also, at the same time, yield ourselves to trouble, since trouble is a part of His will for us.

But some people believe that we should always choose the way that is more comfortable for us.  This is the belief that no pain or suffering is of any value, that God has come to bring us only peace and comfort and prosperity.  It is the belief that since pain is of the devil it is no good at all; and if we are in God’s will we will be prosperous and comforted always, that no pain of suffering will be allowed to come to us.

The only trouble with this option is that sin sometimes comforts us, and then later brings us pain and suffering.  But God has provided a solution for even this this.  He, in His wisdom uses pain (the pain caused by sin) to discipline us in order to keep us from more sin, so that the pain and suffering from sin is reduced.  Unfortunately for us, discipline is painful; but gladly, the results bring us God’s peace (Heb. 12:11).

 

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As if you yourselves were suffering

Originally posted on sarsrose:

1623617_10152579606750590_2673355775065316097_nThe world has been looking on in horror at the atrocities being committed against Christians in Iraq.

The blatant arrogance of IS has shocked us as they’ve flaunted their brutality through the media.

As Christians we can feel helpless. We want to show our support, but beyond changing our profile pictures to the ‘N’ symbol, or donating money to humanitarian aid, there’s little we can do. Except pray. We can pray.

Times like this remind me of Hebrews 13:3, a verse that never fails to challenge me.

“Continue to remember those in prison [for the sake of Jesus] as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.”

We should be praying for them, as if it were us suffering along with them. As if we were there. Suddenly my sense of urgency increases.

It can be hard to know…

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Praying the Pilgrim Songs: Psalm 123

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 Psalm 123
To Thee I lift up my eyes,
O Thou who art enthroned in the heavens!
2 Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master,
As the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress;
So our eyes look to the Lord our God,
Until He shall be gracious to us.
3 Be gracious to us, O Lord, be gracious to us;
For we are greatly filled with contempt.
4 Our soul is greatly filled
With the scoffing of those who are at ease,
And with the contempt of the proud.

 

Commentary on PSALM 123 by Martin Girard

It is very likely that this psalm was written at a “low” time when the Jews were still captives in Babylon. As they suffered the scorning and ridicule of their ungodly tormentors, they looked expectantly to their God for deliverance. The individual believer today needs the same attitude of waiting upon the Lord daily for guidance and direction: “Our eyes wait upon the LORD, our God, until He have mercy upon us” (v. 2).

 

Lord You know what Israel
Has gone through
And is now going through. 
Many despise them
And their soul is filled with contempt;
With the contempt of many.
 
Lord draw them to You.
May they look to You.
May they look to You for
Mercy and help.
 
Lord may we all look to You;
May we look to You as servants
Look to their masters and as a maid
Looks to her mistress—
Waiting for Your help.
 
Lord be gracious to us
And don’t let us be overcome
By those who despise us.
 
And when we are filled up
With their contempt,
Let us always call on You for help;
That our soul would be filled instead
With Your grace and love.
 
Fill us Lord, and let us not be bitter.
 
 
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6 Ways to Keep Yourself in the Spirit and Prepared for Christ’s Coming

Originally posted on Studying Bible Prophecy:

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In Ephesians 6:18 it says,

With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit….

Also in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 it says,

Rejoice always; 17 pray without ceasing; 18 in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

I know, sometimes it’s really hard to have this kind of an attitude and to be always in the Spirit. That’s why I want to give you a few ideas that will help.  Here are 6 things we can do to keep us in the Spirit and consequently prepared for Christ’s coming.

  1. Memorize verses. I find that it helps me a great deal to be periodically looking at a verse of Scripture during the day and doing what I can to memorize it: to repeat it over and over, and to think about what it means and what it means to me—until I have it memorized.

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Hezekiah’s Tears Touched God — 2 Kings 20:2-3

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During the time period that Assyria was invading Judah, Hezekiah became mortally ill.  And Isaiah came and gave him a message from God that he would die.

But Hezekiah “turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord.”

 

2 Kings 20:2-3 (also 2 Chronicles 32:24, Isaiah 38:2-3)

Then he turned his face toward the wall, and prayed to the LORD, saying, 3 “Remember now, O LORD, I pray, how I have walked before You in truth and with a loyal heart, and have done what was good in Your sight.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

 

Since he was sick, he no doubt was lying in bed; and when he heard the bad news, he probably rolled over in his bed and turned toward the wall to conceal his grief and crying. But I think he also turned toward the wall to get away from those standing in the room—for he wished to pray undisturbed, to be alone with God.

In this prayer, which is filled with bitter weeping, Hezekiah begged God to remember his life of good works, and how he had walked before Him in truth with a whole heart.  His prayer was very simple and short, but honest and sincere.

Verse five tells us that God heard his prayer and saw his tears.  Thus God in His mercy extended Hezekiah’s life for fifteen more years (v. 6).

Here is one of the best examples in all of scripture of how sincere prayers touch God.  Therefore, if you feel that you are in a hopeless situation, don’t neglect to pray.  Cry out to God in tears like Hezekiah.  And He will hear you.

 

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