“And Isaiah said, This sign shalt thou have of the LORD, that the LORD will do the thing that he hath spoken: shall the shadow go forward ten degrees, or go back ten degrees? And Hezekiah answered, It is a light thing for the shadow to go down ten degrees: nay, but let the shadow return backward ten degrees. And Isaiah the prophet cried unto the LORD: and he brought the shadow ten degrees backward, by which it had gone down in the dial of Ahaz.” (2 Kings 20:9-11 KJV)
I do not know how many commentators that I have read that focus on the fascination of how time changed. Some even go so far as to use this in their mathematical accounts of time and where ten degrees may be missing. As fascinating as it is to consider the wonder of such a sign directly from God, I think there is something much more valuable hidden away in this short incident. The main key word in the above verses that hits me is “shadow”. There are deep volumes of meaning in the term shadow. What is a shadow? It’s the dark figure, or image, cast on the ground (or other surface) by a body that intercepts the light. There are a number of essential elements that must be in place if a shadow is to exist. First, there must be light. Second, there must be another object. Third, that the other object has to be between the light and the ground (or other surface). In order for a shadow to move any of the three can move; the light, the object, or the ground. The shadow is the nothingness that hides on the other side of something solid (opaque) and is revealed by another something solid (the ground). Is it not interesting how God with His light can reveal the darkness hiding behind various objects with an exacting outline to anyone who is looking at the hard physical ground? And when the light moves, the object moves, or the ground moves the darkness has to move, but never is the darkness able to move the light, the object, or the ground. The beauty in the darkness moving in a different direction is a reflection of the fact that the light did indeed move and is able to control which way the darkness must move. The sad part is that it is at this moment that not only did the darkness regress, but so did king Hezekiah. From this point on, he opens the door for Babylon to come in.
Much later in the book of James, James makes an incredible statement. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” (James 1:17 KJV) Notice when God gives a gift there is no shadow of turning. The shadow is no longer possible because the object that we have been trying to manage that we have put between us and the light has been removed. When we surrender completely to Jesus and accept His atonement there is now nothing for darkness to hide behind. The light comes straight from the Father to us.
“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” (Psalm 119:105 KJV)