Have you heard it said that we shouldn’t ask God for signs? I have. I’ve heard it said that we don’t need signs from God because all we need to know is found in the Bible. I am a sold-out advocate that we should absolutely turn to the Word of God for answers. Undoubtedly, it will guide us in what we need to know.
But what about when we need specific answers? Like should I marry this man or woman? Or should I move to this place? Should I start this ministry? As an author, I can assure you I prayed on every aspect of my book. And I can also assure you that nowhere in the Bible did I read “XXX is your book cover designer”.
I will tell you later how God revealed to me who my book cover designer would be. But first, let’s look at why people say we shouldn’t ask God for a sign. It is primarily derived from the following verse or verses similar to it:
And the Pharisees came forth, and began to question with him, seeking of him a sign from heaven, tempting him. And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and saith, Why doth this generation seek after a sign? verily I say unto you, There shall no sign be given unto this generation.
It says Christ sighed deeply in His spirit. He seemed quite annoyed at their request. So, would God be annoyed if we asked Him for a sign today? This is definitely a subject with dissecting. God forbid if we annoy or aggravate Him, right? So, let’s dig into it.
It is always important to look at the context of a subject to get a full picture of what is being said. It also helps to counter reference other scriptures. In this context, Christ is speaking to the Pharisees who were asking Christ for a sign. If we know anything about the Pharisees, we know that they hated Christ because of his teachings and they did not believe He was Lord.
Christ had already performed several signs, wonders, and miracles at this point. So, why exactly did the Pharisees need a sign? If you go back to the referenced verse, you’ll see it says they were “tempting him”. Their request for a sign was not needed nor was it genuine. Let’s look at another reference of this text.
The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven. He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowering. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times? A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed.
(Matthew 16:1-4, KJV)
Matthew’s version of the account is more detailed and provides a clearer picture. Here we see Christ saying that the Pharisees were hypocrites because they could discern the weather but could not discern the signs of the times. What was the sign of the times? The sign was that Christ had arrived and was right in front of their faces, but they couldn't discern it. He also said the only sign they would get was from Jonah.
What was the sign from Jonah? The sign was Jonah staying in the belly of the whale for 3 days and emerging from it on the 3rd day. Likewise, Christ was in the tomb for 3 days but rose on the 3rd day. So, when Christ says they would not receive a sign, He meant they would not receive a sign in regards to Him being the long awaited Messiah.
Modern Day Application:
Can I ask God for a sign or not?
So, since God was referring to a sign about His Lordship and not about our everyday lives, can we ask God for a sign? I think it’s important to keep in mind what a sign is. A sign is a form of guidance. A stop sign tells us to stop. A walk sign let’s us know it’s okay to cross the street. Signs merely signal us on what we should or should not do. So, when we ask God for a sign, we are essentially asking Him for guidance. Surely, God wants us to seek Him for direction.
And God will direct us. But even when we think we heard directions from God, sometimes we aren’t entirely sure we heard correctly. So, we ask for confirmation. This is exactly what Gideon did.
Gideon replied, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, give me a sign that it is really you talking to me.
And you know what? God didn’t call Gideon wicked. He didn’t sigh deeply within Himself or become annoyed at Gideon’s request. Instead, God sent him a sign. In fact, Gideon asked for two more signs in the same chapter, and God never rolled His eyes at Gideon. God only confirmed His direction.
Earlier I said I would tell you about how I knew my book designer was the one God wanted me to use. I didn’t necessarily ask God for a sign. But I did absolutely ask God for His guidance. So, one day I was at work, busily working away. My mind was completely focused on the task at hand. I was not thinking about my book in any shape, form, or fashion.
Then suddenly out of nowhere, the man who eventually became my cover designer fell on my mind and spirit. As I said, my mind was on nothing at all besides my work. So, I began to wonder why did he drop in my spirit. Mind you, I only know him by way of a writer’s site called Medium. He also graciously became a member of my website. But I only knew him as a writer and a reader of a few of my articles… not as a designer. Thus, it never crossed my mind to look into him or even consider him as my book cover designer.
But something (the Holy Spirit) urged me to look into him and his skill set. And Voilà! Turned out that he had in fact done some work in graphic design. So, I emailed him. But here’s the kicker. I said within myself, “Lord, if he offers to do it for free, then I’ll be sold that he’s the one.”
And I’ll be doggoned if he didn’t offer to do my cover for free! This is what I call God leading in the specifics that cannot be found in the Bible. I never verbatim said “Lord, give me a sign.” But God sent me signs and confirmation because I asked Him for guidance.
Modern-day signs from God can come from the Bible, the Holy Spirit, preachers, teachers, dreams... anything honestly. God has even spoken to me through license plates and billboards...
So, again, is it okay to ask God for a sign? If the answer cannot be found in scriptures, I would say yes, as long as it doesn’t tempt God or question His Lordship. We don’t need signs to prove that Christ is Lord. That proof can be found in the Bible. Yet, if someone isn’t sure that Christ is Lord or if they are struggling with their faith, do as it says in scriptures:
Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
And if you are still unsure about asking God for a sign, then just ask Him for guidance. If you ask God for guidance, He will send you all the signs, warnings, and directions that you need. God wants us to ask Him for guidance. It’ll be His pleasure to guide us because that's what He desires anyway.
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
(Proverbs 3:5-6, KJV)
Okay, I'm signing off now (no pun intended). But one last thing, when you ask God for guidance, don't put a time-frame on when He should answer you. If you asked Him, He heard you. God will answer your specific question and direct your steps when the time is right.
So go ahead, ask God to signal you on what you should or should not do. Because what on earth are we supposed to do without His approval and guidance? For we are lost without Him. Ask God to lead you, signal you, and guide you in all your ways. Ask Him. And He'll surely answer.
That's all folks. Have a blessed day and week!
Quin Arrington's debut book "And Then You Shall Have Good Success: Attaining Good Success God's Way" is available on Amazon in paperback and eBook format. Link to book listed below.