The following four scriptures appear in the Bible:
Isaiah tells King Ahaz: “Ask a sign of the LORD your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven.” Isaiah 7:11
God says to Gideon: “And the Lord said to him, “But I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man.” And Gideon said to Him, “If now I have found favour in your eyes, then show me a sign that it is you who speak with me. Please do not depart from here until I come to you and bring out my present and set it before you.” And He said, “I will stay till you return.”” Judges 6:16-18
Jesus said to the scribes and Pharisees: “But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.” Matt 12:39
“And Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”” Luke 4:12
When you read these scriptures it might seem like the Bible contradicts itself. How can God tell King Ahaz to ask for a sign, but tell the scribes and Pharisees that an evil and adulterous generation asks for a sign? Also Jesus said that you shall not put god to the test. The way I understand it, is that it is all about the heart.
Gideon’s heart was right, he asked God for a sign saying that if God gives him the sign then he will do what God tells him to. Also see Judges 6:36-38. Gideon is willing to follow God and believe His word wholeheartedly, when God gives him the sign. God knows that Gideon is not testing Him. He knows that Gideon's motive is genuine and that whatever God proves through the sign, Gideon will do. If Gideon asks for a sign and God knows that even if He gives Gideon a sign, he still will not obey God, then Gideon is just mocking God and then God will probably give no sign as God will not be mocked and will not be tested.The scribes and the Pharisees on the other hand were not looking for a sign to help them obey or follow God, they were looking for ways to test Jesus and to prove that He is not the Messiah. No amount of signs would have convinced them that the Son of God was standing in front of them, because their eyes were blind and their hearts were hard towards God. Asking for a sign was evil and adulterous as they were ready to test Jesus and to find something which to betray Him with. They call Him teacher, but they don’t believe that He is the Son of God and they seek any opportunity to find fault in Him. If you read the first part of chapter 12, you will find that Jesus just healed a man with a withered hand, a man who was demon possessed, blind and mute and everyone else who followed Him. All these miracles were done moments or hours before they asked Him for the sign and they still did not believe.
Jesus was also healing people on the Sabbath day, which was unlawful according to the Pharisees, as you were not allowed to work on the Sabbath. They might also have been asking for more signs in order to have more evidence to incriminate Him with. Point being, their motive and heart behind asking were evil and adulterous and Jesus knew that.
I have found that when I ask God for a sign I have to be serious about it or God will not respond. Let’s say that you want to ask God whether or not you should take a new job. If you tell Him that you will say “yes” if they phone on Monday and “no” if they phone on any other day of the week, then you have to be serious about it. If God knows that you will say “yes” no matter which day they phone, because in your heart you have already decided that you want the job, then He will most likely not give you the sign as He will not be mocked. You cannot ask God for a sign if you have already decided what you are going to do. It sounds silly, but God is not stupid and He can see your heart. If you are earnest, He will respond, but if He knows that you will not obey Him after He gives the sign, then He won’t give you a sign. He does not put Himself or you in that position. The problem is that we are sometimes too scared to ask for a sign, because we are scared of what the answer might be and we are scared that the answer will not be in line with what we want.
So if you want to ask God, be genuine, be honest with yourself and get your heart to a place where you know that whatever He asks you to do or whatever His answer is, you will follow and obey. When you get your heart to that point, then ask for a sign and I believe He will give it gladly. Do not be afraid to ask, even if His answer does not match your wants, rather know that He is good and He always has the best plans for His children.Photo credit: vi.sualize.us