Sign-Seeking: Observing vs. Demanding

One day the Pharisees and Sadducees came to test Jesus, demanding that he show them a miraculous sign from heaven to prove his authority.

He replied, “You know the saying, ‘Red sky at night means fair weather tomorrow; red sky in the morning means foul weather all day.’ You know how to interpret the weather signs in the sky, but you don’t know how to interpret the signs of the times! Only an evil, adulterous generation would demand a miraculous sign, but the only sign I will give them is the sign of the prophet Jonah.” Then Jesus left them and went away.

Matthew 16:1-4, New Living Translation

I like the use of the word “demand” in this passage. Here’s how it sounds in the King James Translation: “A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign” (Matthew 16:4, italics added). It’s clear from the context that the Savior wants us to be observant: He wants us to notice the signs that God gives us. He isn’t telling us to avoid looking for signs. He’s telling us not to demand them, not to insist that God do things our way.

When Korihor requested a sign, Alma didn’t say, “God won’t give you one.” He said, “Thou hast had signs enough.” (See Alma 30:43:44.) Like the Pharisees and Sadducees, Korihor needed to appreciate and understand what he had already received.

God gives us signs to help us recognize His presence in our lives and to guide our actions. If we are observant, we will see them. But if we insist that He provide signs on our timeline and in our way, we will be disappointed.

Today, I will seek to be aware of the signs God has already given me. I will trust God to give me the guidance and support I need, and I will strive to recognize those gifts as they are given.

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