October 6, 2016
READ: Isaiah 38:1-8
So the shadow on the sundial moved backward ten steps (v.8).
For 5 years, an ancient clay seal remained in a dark closet in Jerusalem’s Institute of Archaeology. Dug up at the foot of the southern part of Jerusalem’s old city wall, initial examination failed to establish the true identity of the nearly 3,000-year-old object.
But then a researcher carefully scrutinized the letters on the seal, and it led to a major discovery. The impression bears an inscription in ancient Hebrew script reading: “הדהי ךלמזחא [ןב] והיקזחל”or “Belonging to Hezekiah [son of] Ahaz king of Judah.”
The script is accompanied by a two-winged sun, with wings turned downward, flanked by two ankh symbols symbolizing life. Archaeologists believed this seal was made late in King Hezekiah’s life when the king’s personal symbols changed from the winged scarab (the symbol of power and rule that had been familiar throughout the Ancient Near East) to that of the winged sun (God’s sign that He would heal King Hezekiah from his life-threatening illness) as found in Isaiah 38:1-8.
This archaeological discovery presents fresh, corroborating light on the biblical narrative. It reminds us once again that the Bible isn’t fiction. It contains words inspired by the living God (2 Timothy 3:16-17). In Scripture we read of real events, real people, and a real God. And just as King Hezekiah approached God with his honest appeal (Isaiah 38:3), we too can approach Him boldly and present our requests to Him. And even though His answers may not be what we want or expect, we can rest assured that He’s compassionate, He hears us, and He’s powerful. He even orders the movement of the sun! (v.8).
May we read the Bible with a renewed excitement and anticipation to know our God and His love even more.
—Poh Fang Chia
365-day plan: Acts 1:12-26
Read 2 Kings 20:1-11 for a parallel account of the same incident but with additional information.
Knowing that the narratives in the Bible reveal a real God who works in human history, how will you read it differently? What Scriptures inspire you today?