Teach Me To Pray

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In November of 1988, the Los Angeles Times reported, “A screaming woman, trapped in a car dangling from a freeway transition road in East Los Angeles was rescued Saturday morning. The 19-year-old woman apparently fell asleep behind the wheel about 12:15 A.M. The car, which plunged through a guardrail was left dangling by its left rear wheel. A half dozen passing motorists stopped, grabbed some ropes from one of their vehicles, tied the ropes to the back of the woman’s car, and hung on until the fire units arrived. A ladder was extended from below to help stabilize the car while firefighters tied the vehicle to tow trucks with cables and chains. ‘Every time we would move the car,’ said one of the rescuers, ‘she’d yell and scream. It took almost 2 1/2 hours for the passers-by, officers, tow truck drivers, and firefighters – about 25 people in all – to secure the car and pull the woman to safety. ‘It was kinda funny,’ L.A. County Fire Capt. Ross Marshall recalled later. ‘She kept saying, “I’ll do it myself.” There are times when self-sufficiency goes too far.

Many of us try to go through life without prayer. In fact our spiritual lives reflect our great need of prayer. In Atlanta, a woman seeking a divorce complained that her husband was careless about his appearance. She said: “He hasn’t showed up in two years.” When was the last time that she talked to God?

There are four (4) types of prayer.

Personal Prayer. Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane in John 17. In the Gethsemane prayer, Jesus prays for Himself. “Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. There is great pain for himself, in that prayer. There is nothing wrong with praying for our own personal needs. Luke writes: LUK 22:42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” There is nothing selfish or unacceptable about praying for ourselves. If our Father in Heaven doesn’t want to do it or knows its not in our best interest, God won’t do it. That is why God sometimes says “NO” to our prayers. The board of deacons was being briefed on techniques for making church calls. One newly elected member was obviously timid about her responsibilities. The pastor hoped to encourage her by stressing the power of prayer. “You’ll find it helpful, before you make the call, to spend a few moments talking to God about it,” he said. When the deacons met later to report, the timid one waylaid the pastor and said enthusiastically, “Oh, thank you for what you said about prayer. I tried it when I went out on my call, and it works.” “I’m glad to hear that,” beamed the pastor. “Tell us what happened.” “Well, I prayed the people wouldn’t be home, and they weren’t.” God hears every prayer. It is personal by the very nature that it is between you and God. “When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. “ …for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

Intercessory Prayer. Beginning at the 6th verse of John 17, Jesus changes to intercessory prayer. He prays for the Disciples and then He prays for all believers. Intercessory prayer is prayer on behalf of someone else. In the Church we use intercessory prayer to pray for the needs of each other. The “Prayer List” invites us to know the needs and then we pray for their needs. The Holy Spirit gives intercessory prayer on our behalf. Intercessory prayer is the greatest gift of love that we can give to another person. It is sacrificial and selfless. Intercessory prayer is not to be a public spectacle but to be prayed from our closets. ROM 8:26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. A park ranger at Yellowstone National Park tells the story of a ranger leading a group of hikers to a fire lookout. The ranger was so intent on telling the hikers about the flowers and animals that he considered the messages on his two-way radio distracting, so he switched it off. Nearing the tower, the ranger was met by a nearly breathless lookout, who asked why he hadn’t responded to the messages on his radio. A grizzly bear had been seen stalking the group, and the authorities were trying to warn them of the danger. How important it is that we never turn off God’s saving communication! Want to love someone that is unlovable? Want to forgive someone that is unforgivable? Pray for them, for their good!

Community Prayer. Community prayer takes place in the mist of the Church. MAT 18:20 For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” (NIV) Community prayer has great power. MAT 16:19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (NIV) God pays special attention to the Church. MAT 18:19 “Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. (NIV)

Travailing Prayer. Travailing prayer is a prayer lifted up in the middle of sorrow or pain. It is the prayer of the bereaved. It is the prayer of the terminally ill. It is the prayer of the persecuted. As Jesus was dying on the cross, He prayed, LUK 23:34 “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” I believe that God has a very sensitive heart for this prayer.

Answering our prayers! It is remarkable to think that God has given us a partnership with him in directing the course of human events. It is extraordinary to realize that our prayer can change events and circumstances in the world around us. But what is just as remarkable is that when we pray, “we” change. More often than not, we become the answer to our own prayers as we open up ourselves to God in prayer.

A Look At Racism And The Bible

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A young American at a banquet found himself seated next to a Chinese diplomat. Not knowing what to say to a Chinese, the young man asked, “Likee soupee?” The diplomat nodded and smiled. Later the diplomat, Wellington Koo, was called on to speak and delivered an eloquent address in flawless English. As he sat down to the sound of applause, he turned to the young American and said, “Likee speechee?”

We are better not judging other folks prematurely, lest we find out that it is we who are being judged, not them! All of us come with our own baggage. And all of us no matter who we are have some biases and some prejudices. Bigotry is found everywhere: All economic levels. All education levels. All races and gender.

I grew up in Kentucky and my father-in-law grew up in North Carolina. When we talked about the Civil War we saw it from two entirely different perspectives. I was always reminded of the story of a bus tour of Nashville, Tennessee. The bus driver was pointing out the sights of the Civil War Battle of Nashville. The driver said, “Right over here a small group of Confederate soldiers held off a whole Yankee Brigade.” A little further along he said, “Over there a young Confederate boy, all by himself, fought off a Yankee Platoon.” This went on and on until finally, the man taking the tour said, “Didn’t the Yankees win anything in the battle of Nashville?” And the bus driver replied, “Not while I’m the driver of this bus, they didn’t.”

In his first season with the Brooklyn Dodgers, Jackie Robinson, the first black man to play major league baseball, faced venom nearly everywhere he traveled. Fastballs at his head, spikings on the bases, and brutal epithets from the opposing dugouts and from the crowds. During one game in Boston, the taunts and racial slurs seemed to reach a peak. In the midst of this, another Dodger, a Southern white named Pee Wee Reese, called for a time out. He walked from his position at shortstop toward Robinson at second base, put his arm around Robinson’s shoulder, and stood there with him for what seemed like a long time. The gesture spoke more eloquently than the words: this man is my friend.

Why should there be differences among people? The color of a persons skin is not what makes them who they are but the content of their character. If a woman does the same job as a man, why shouldn’t she be paid the same? That is only fair! Most of the time our prejudices, our biases and our bigotry comes out of fear. The fear of losing our job to someone else. The fear of having someone do better than us. The fear of losing control.

The saddest part is that prejudices, biases and bigotry are even found in the Church. For more than a year a little old cleaning lady who lived on the wrong side of the tracks had been trying to join a fashionable downtown church. The preacher was not eager to have a seedy-looking person in faded, out-of-style clothes sitting in a pew next to his rich members. When she called for the fifth time to discuss membership, he put her off for the fifth time. “I tell you what,” he said unctuously, “you just go home tonight and have a talk with God about it. Later you can tell me what He said.” The poor woman went her way. Weeks became months, and the preacher saw no more of her, and his conscience did hurt a little. Then one day he encountered her scrubbing the floors in an office building, and felt impelled to inquire, “Did you have your little talk with God, Mrs. Washington?” he asked. “Oh, my, yes,” she said, “I talked with God, as you suggested.” “Ah, and what answer did He give you?” “Well, Preacher,” she pushed back a wisp of stringy hair with a sudsy hand, “God said for me not to get discouraged, but to keep trying. He said that He Himself has been trying to get into your church for 20 years, with no more success than I have had.”

We try to justify our prejudices with scripture and you can’t because scripture condemns it. Some trace the races back to Noah’s sons. GEN 5:32 After Noah was 500 years old, he became the father of Shem, Ham and Japheth. Genesis 9:21-23 When he drank some of its wine, he became drunk and lay uncovered inside his tent. Ham, saw his father’s nakedness and told his two brothers outside. But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it across their shoulders; then they walked in backward and covered their father’s nakedness. Whenever we interpret Scripture, we tend to lean towards our own bias. We need to recognize the reality of such biases that we all have. Churches that denied women leadership roles is less theological than bias. GAL 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 1SA 16:7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Who is my neighbor? Everyone is my neighbor. I am required to love and to treat them fairly. MAT 7:12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. “Listening and caring is risky. It can cause us a lot of trouble if we listen, especially if we listen to people we don’t like very much. For one thing, if we listen to them, we may have to change our line of attack against them. If we listen we may discover that they are not the fool we thought. If we listen we may have to forfeit a quick and massive victory. If we listen we may feel other people’s pain.

To take the gospel to the Gentiles (you and me) meant overcoming deep-seated prejudices of many years. What do we do until the world changes? Be patient and understanding. Have a good sense of humor: Booker T. Washington arrived one time in a city to make a speech. His train was late and he was in a hurry. He dashed out of the station to the cab stand but the cabby growled, “I don’t drive niggers.” Washington said, “All right, I’ll drive you. Get in the back.” If real changes are to come, they must start with us.

Miss Thompson was a conscientious teacher who tried to treat all her students the same. There was one little boy, though, who was difficult for her even to like. His name was Teddy Stallard. Teddy didn’t seem to be interested in school. He was not an attractive child, his schoolwork was horrendous and his attitude was no better. In short, there was certainly nothing loveable about Teddy Stallard. Indeed, for some strange reason, Miss Thompson felt a great deal of resentment toward Teddy. She almost enjoyed giving him “F’s.” There was something about him that rubbed her the wrong way.

Miss Thompson knew Teddy’s background. His school records indicated that in the first grade he showed some promise but he had problems at home. In the second grade his mother fell seriously ill and Teddy started falling behind. In the third grade his mother died. Teddy was tabbed as a slow learner. In the fourth grade he was far behind. His teacher noted that his father had no interest in Teddy’s progress.

Christmastime came and the boys and girls in Miss Thompson’s room brought her some gifts. To her surprise among those gifts was a very crudely wrapped present from Teddy. Opening it in front of the other children she discovered a gaudy rhinestone bracelet, with half the stones missing, and a bottle of cheap perfume. Sensing that the other children were beginning to smirk and giggle at the simple gift, Miss Thompson had the presence of mind to put on the bracelet and open the perfume. She put some of the perfume on her wrist which she invited the children to smell. “Isn’t this bracelet beautiful?” she asked the children. “Doesn’t this perfume smell lovely?” Taking their cue from her the children responded with “oohs” and “aahs.” At the end of the school day, little Teddy came to Miss Thompson’s desk and said, Miss Thompson, you smell just like my mother and her bracelet looks real pretty on you, too. I’m glad you liked my presents.” When Teddy left, Miss Thompson got down on her knees and asked God for forgiveness for her attitude toward Teddy.

To make a long story short, from that day forward Miss Thompson became a new teacher and Teddy Stallard became a new pupil. Both Teddy’s attitude and his grades dramatically improved. Many years later Miss Thompson received a letter from Teddy telling her that he would be graduating from high school second in his class. It was signed, “Love, Teddy Stallard.” Four years later she received another letter from Teddy telling her that he was graduating from college first in his class. Four years later there was another letter to inform her that the young fellow who once presented her with a gaudy bracelet with half the rhinestones missing and a cheap bottle of perfume was now Theodore Stallard, MD. Also, he was getting married. His father was dead now, too. Would Miss Thompson be willing to sit where his mother would sit for the wedding if she were alive? “You are all the family I have left now,” wrote Teddy. Miss Thompson sat proudly where Teddy’s mother would have been seated for that wedding. That moment of sensitivity and compassion many years before had earned her that right.

Is Everything Predestined?

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It is called by many titles, predestination, election, preordination, chosen, etc. Whatever we call it, it implies that God has a master plan and that our destiny is already set. John Calvin taught that with predestination we had very little choice. Everything and everyone were predetermined by God. The elect (Christians) have already been chosen by God and the non-Christians were not chosen by God. But somehow that bothers us!

Election is God’s deciding who gets on the plane bound for heaven. Predestination is his charting the route the plane will take, the schedule, the accommodations both during and after the flight, and each passenger’s safety. With God as the pilot of the plane and the plane itself, all who board the plane make it to heaven. Predestination means God himself makes sure the elect actually board the plane. Their response of faith in Christ is like checking in at the gate with a boarding pass. Those whom God has elected to salvation he also moves to accept his free offer. Many are called, but few are chosen. Yet all who are chosen are predestined to end up in heaven.

We all learn to make adjustments in life, like the doctor who gave his patient just six months to live. When the fellow didn’t pay his bill the doctor gave him another six months. We like the thought that God chose us, that makes us special. However, we have difficulty with a loving God who only selects a few. Why me a sinner, as opposed to this sinner? There are some mighty fine people who will end up in Hell. Why were they not chosen? MAT 22:14 “For many are invited, but few are chosen.”

To believe that God would elect some to go to Hell means also that God predestined some to commit evil. The God who loved us enough to send His one and only Son, cannot be the same God who would choose to make a person a mass murderer. I think we see a lot of this thinking in Paul’s writings because, Paul saw himself was a very evil person whom God had chosen to change.

There are some who believe in a modified election. They believe in a “free will” to choose God and to make one’s own confession of God. However, once we have confessed God we accept God’s plan for our lives. Sometimes it is called “eternal security” or “once saved always saved.” JOH 10:28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. But free will isn’t turn on and turn off.

Salvation is a two way street. In our scripture text, Paul is expressing that two way street. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. God’s love is unconditional. His love is like that of a parent, we may not approve of what our child is doing or how that child may be living, but we love them, simply because they are our child. God doesn’t pick who He will love and who He will not love. Remember Paul’s own words, (1Corinthians 13:4-8) Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. Love simply doesn’t give up. There was a boy who did not have much athletic ability. Every time he and his friends would play some game he was always the last to be chosen. One day two new fellows came to play with them and were allowed to be team captains because they were older. The first team captain chose the boy who had always been chosen last before. Why? Because they were brothers, and he loved his brother. So it is with God. He chose us not because of our abilities, but because he loves us.

For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. We forget sometimes that God is God and not just another person. “…those God foreknew…” God is Omniscient. The Old Testament has an illuminating use of the word to “know.” (Psalms 139:1-4) O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord. When the Bible speaks of God knowing a person, it means that he has a purpose, a plan and a task for that person. This is the same God who knew from the very beginning that He would have to send His Son into the world. (Genesis 3:14-15) So the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, “Cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”

And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. When Paul uses the term predestined, he means that God made the first move. (2 Corinthians 5:18-19) All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. Paul writes ROM 10:13 “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

The Scarlet Cord

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Have you ever had a sign? A sign on a convent in Southern California read: “Absolutely No Trespassing — Violators Will Be Prosecuted to the Full Extent of the Law.” Signed, “The Sisters of Mercy.” Sign seen in Chicago: “Warning! Guard Dog on Duty — survivors will be prosecuted!”

Signs were very important in scripture too. “This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”(Luke 2:12) “The Lord said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.”(Num 21:8)

“Go, look over the land,” he said, “especially Jericho.” So they went and entered the house of a prostitute named Rahab and stayed there.” (Joshua 2) In this passage the writer calls Rahab a “prostitute.” It may well be that she was a prostitute. For the New Testament also calls her a prostitute. HEB 11:31 By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient. JAM 2:25 In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? (NIV) However, in fairness to Rahab, she may not have been a “prostitute” but rather an “innkeeper.” No self-respecting woman runs a hotel. A woman who entertains men through the night is a prostitute. Ever heard of a woman named Annie Oakley? She was a crack shot with a rifle. She could shoot a cigarette out of a mans mouth at 30 feet. Or a dime held between two fingers.

The king of Jericho was told, “Look! Some of the Israelites have come here tonight to spy out the land.” So the king of Jericho sent this message to Rahab: “Bring out the men who came to you and entered your house, because they have come to spy out the whole land.” But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them. She said, “Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they had come from. At dusk, when it was time to close the city gate, the men left. I don’t know which way they went. Go after them quickly. You may catch up with them.” (But she had taken them up to the roof and hidden them under the stalks of flax she had laid out on the roof.)

There is a great deal of symbolism in the name Rahab. Rahab was also in scripture as a mystical sea-monster. This sea monster represented chaos, over which God triumphed. PSA 89:10 You crushed Rahab like one of the slain; with your strong arm you scattered your enemies. (NIV) ISA 51:9 Was it not you who cut Rahab to pieces, who pierced that monster through? Given this understanding Rahab represents sin, over which the grace of God triumphs.

Before the spies lay down for the night, she went up on the roof and said to them, “I know that the Lord has given this land to you and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you. We have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, give me a sure sign that you will spare the lives of my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them, and that you will save us from death.” “Our lives for your lives!” the men assured her. So she let them down by a rope through the window, for the house she lived in was part of the city wall. Now she had said to them, “Go to the hills so the pursuers will not find you. Hide yourselves there three days until they return, and then go on your way.”

Now does anyone here see the symbolism in “three days?” MAT 12:40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. MAT 15:32 Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.” (NIV)

The men said to her, “This oath you made us swear will not be binding on us unless, when we enter the land, you have tied this scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and unless you have brought your father and mother, your brothers and all your family into your house. If anyone goes outside your house into the street, his blood will be on his own head; As for anyone who is in the house with you, his blood will be on our head if a hand is laid on him.

Again, this strikes a cord with something that is familiar. EXO 12:22 Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the doorframe. Not one of you shall go out the door of his house until morning. When the Lord goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians, he will see the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe and will pass over that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down. Those marked with a sign, the blood, will be spared. (2 Corinthians 1:21) He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. ROM 4:11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised.

A woman died in Austin, Texas. The woman smelled smoke and ran from the house to safety. But then she ran back in to call 911 for the emergency. Before she was able to make the call, her boyfriend called. While she was explaining the situation to him, she became overcome with smoke. The house burned around her and she was engulfed by flames. So what are the ways we become engulfed by the flames of activity around us? We know we should spend more time with the kids, change our diet, lose a few pounds or stop smoking. We know all that, but we just don’t do much about it. Here we stand – business as usual. Eventually it is too late. Smell the smoke?

Jesus said, REV 3:20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. Rahab becomes a sign of what God can do for us.

One Missing Day In Time

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One of the longest piano compositions is “Vexation” by Erik Satie – the whole performance lasts 18 hours, 40 minutes. (I know you find it hard to think that this minister knows this stuff!) The first reported public performance, in September, 1963 in New York City’s Pocket Theater, required a relay of ten pianists. A New York Times critic fell asleep at 4 a.m., and the audience dwindled to six. At the conclusion, a sado-Masochist shouted, “Encore!”

There is a joke associated with the performance. (A man got up to leave during this service.) “Where are you going?” he was asked. He said, “To get a haircut.” The man asked, “Why didn’t you get it before?” He said, “I didn’t need one then.” Time is an important commodity to all of us!

Harold Hill, former president of the Curtis Engine Company in Baltimore, Maryland and a former consultant in the space program shared a discovery that his company had made in assisting the Space Administration. It seems that they were trying to determine the position of the planets for future space launches. In order to know where the planets will be in the future, you have to know where they have been in the past. They feed into the computer all known locations and their dates as recorded in history. According to Mr. Hill, the measurement of the planets and their courses was off by one day. Where the movement of the planets were located in known ancient times, it did not match with the planets of today. One of the team (a Christian) remembered reference to the sun standing still in the Bible.

There are in the Old Testament too accounts where time has been stopped. Impossible you say! For He who created time, it is not impossible.

The first and oldest account is found in Joshua. Five Amorite kings band together to drive out the Hebrew people. When the battle begins God set “hail” on the Amorites and killed a great number of them, more than the Hebrews killed. On the day the Lord gave the Amorites over to Israel, Joshua said to the Lord in the presence of Israel: “O sun, stand still over Gibeon, O moon, over the Valley of Aijalon.” The prayer request is that time would stand still until the battle was over.

There are those who think that verses 12-14 actually occur before verse 11. The real sequence of events is that the Hebrew army traveled all night to Gibeon. In the early dawn, the Hebrew’s attacked the Amorites. With the sun and the moon stilled, they waged the battle all day and beyond, since time was halted. God cleans up after the battle with the hailstorm. Note the concluding phrase, “JOS 10:11 more of them died from the hailstones than were killed by the swords of the Israelites.”

So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the nation avenged itself on its enemies, as it is written in the Book of Jashar. “Jashar” means “the upright.” We no longer have the book and know very little about it.

The Book of Jashar is also mentioned in Second Samuel 1:18. Second Samuel (1:18) ordered that the men of Judah be taught this lament of the bow (it is written in the Book of Jashar): The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day. The “middle of the sky” was noon. “About a full day” was not a complete 24 hour period of time. Very possibly 23 hours and 20 minutes.

Our second account of the change of time comes from Second Kings 20. Hezekiah had asked Isaiah, “What will be the sign that the Lord will heal me and that I will go up to the temple of the Lord on the third day from now?” Hezekiah had been very ill. In fact, God had warned Hezekiah to “get his house in order.”

However, after listening to Hezekiah’s prayer, God changed His mind. Isaiah answered, “This is the Lord’s sign to you that the Lord will do what he has promised….” Typical response, “Prove it! “Shall the shadow go forward ten steps, or shall it go back ten steps?” This account reminds me of the story of Gideon. Let me put the fleece on a second time and this time…. “It is a simple matter for the shadow to go forward ten steps,” said Hezekiah. My word, if he doesn’t die, he will know that the Lord has spoken. “Rather, have it go back ten steps.” Then the prophet Isaiah called upon the Lord, and the Lord made the shadow go back the ten steps…. As if any of us could make time move forward faster. Now we move back.

Each “step” is a minute of time. When we move the clock back ten steps we lose 20 minutes. Ten minutes for the loss of time and ten minutes to relive that which is lost. Between Joshua and Second Kings we find the full missing day.

Beyond the fact that these two accounts are miracles, they reveal the great power of God. Time has no bearing on God. It is important to us for some reason that God had to create the universe in six days. As if God wouldn’t be God if it took God a million years. But among us can even create such a thing much less live that long? 2PE 3:8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.