We are so accustomed to signs that we don’t realize how much they dictate our actions. They tell us where we are, when to stop or yield, how fast we should go, and where to turn. They tell us where to buy doughnuts or clothing, where to spend the night, how much gas costs, or where the hospital is.
A rash, fever and chills, or a pain in the chest that radiates down the arm are all signs that we need to see a doctor. A fussy, yawning child is a good sign that it’s nap time. In my neighborhood, robins in the yard and blooming daffodils are signs that it’s time to prepare the garden for planting.
The types of signs that we notice and how it affects our lives are influenced by our background, where we live, and what we do. In our western culture, we’re not generally attuned to spiritual signs. Instead, we pursue knowledge and understanding. However, the Jewish culture is more aware of signs, because God has often spoken to His children through signs.
In the Bible sign (signal, or omen) signals that something major is about to happen. It could be positive or negative, but the people would be on the alert, watching and listening. The Bible is full of mentions of signs.
The word is first used in Genesis 1, when God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night, and let them be for signs and seasons, …” (v. 14, emphasis added).
God set the rainbow in the sky as a sign and reminder of His “covenant with the earth” that He would never again flood the whole earth with water (Gen. 8:12-17).
The Lord provided signs (plagues) through Moses that Pharaoh and the Egyptians might believe (Ex. 4:8-9, 8:22-23, 12:13; Deut. 34:11-12).
The Sabbath was established as a holy sign (Ex. 31:13-17).
“Some scribes and Pharisees said, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You,” Jesus answered, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah (Matt. 12:38-39). The Pharisees were so focused on signs and their own traditions that they missed Jesus, the ultimate sign pointing us to the Father.
And yet, the wise men saw a sign in the sky and followed the star to Bethlehem, where they found the king that they sought ().
Lowly shepherd’s received the word, “”And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger” (Lk. 2:12). They found the baby Jesus because they heeded the sign.
Ann Graham Lotts posted a video of an Australian pastor Steve Cioccolanti. In it, he shared that the “sign of Jonah” that Jesus referred to when speaking to the scribes and Pharisees was in reference to a solar eclipse. Evidently, Ninevah turned to God because Jonah visited shortly after a solar eclipse passed over Ninevah.
The eclipse served as an omen that alerted them to danger, opened their hearts, and primed them to respond to Jonah’s message. Even though he was a reluctant messenger that didn’t want them to be saved, they repented of their evil because of a sign.
I don’t begin to understand what signs mean, but what if the total eclipse is a sign for America today? Because we westerners seek knowledge, not signs, and since we place so much value on science and understanding, I believe we’re likely to miss any message the Lord might have for us.
If God is speaking, I don’t want to miss it, and I suspect that’s true for you too.
As a nation, we’ve turned our backs on God after He has richly blessed us. I’d say we’re due some consequences, and it would be merciful of the Lord to send a signal that doom is near.
Several possibilities for calamity are obvious. Scientists predict that we’re overdue major earthquakes—some of which are in the path of the eclipse. We’re in the midst of a hurricane season. The sharp divide in the country and the threats of war from without are other obvious sources of potential trouble. Other natural disasters could also strike.
I’m not fear-mongering, just very aware of how easy it would be for the United States to be jolted into the reality of how fragile our comfort zone really is.
With all that in mind, the reason I’m sharing these thoughts is summed up in two passages:
“Then the LORD said to Moses: ‘How long will these people reject Me? And how long will they not believe Me, with all the signs which I have performed among them?’” (Num. 14:11). Those words are fitting for today.
The other passage could be describing an eclipse but also gives direction, “The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD. And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved” (Acts 2:20-21).
I don’t know if this refers to an eclipse, nor do I know the significance of the eclipse across America. Some think it is an omen of destruction to come. Some think it could signal the return of Jesus.
I don’t know, but I’m watching, and I’m praying that the Spirit of God would hover over our land so we will be ready to respond to the Lord..
“In the beginning . . . the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters” (Gen. 1:2, emphasis added). The Spirit hovered over the darkness before the power of God was manifested in creation.
We have rejected truth and chaos reigns. Darkness is rampant in the land. We need the Spirit of God to hover over us in preparation for the word and the work of the Lord in midst of our chaos.
Whether or not the solar eclipse is a special sign from the Lord, all we have to do is look around us to see many signs which indicate that it’s time to stop and pray for families, for the church, our nation, and our world.