For some people, they're facing the decision of possibly having to do something that they really do not want to do.
- Sometimes, this can result in a person asking God for an enormous sign they really don't believe has any chance of happening, because that way they can trick themselves into thinking that God really didn't want them to do it. But God can perform even the most impossible signs if He wants to, so I believe that in these cases, He doesn't provide the sign because He knows that person is in rebellion against Him, not truly seeking His will.
- But other times, people facing a decision they emphatically do not want to do ask for a sign because they are seeking God's will deep down, but there is a massive struggle inside of them because of how much they don't want to do it. They feel God directing them toward a decision, and already know what His answer will be in the sign, but they need that extra push to force them over the edge into saying "Yes" to God. In a way, their asking for a sign is a great act of faith and sacrifice, because they are asking for something their minds cannot write off as coincidence or misunderstanding - they are asking for a definitive command.
In other cases, asking for a sign is the responsible thing to do! If we feel that God is pushing us towards a decision, but there is a lot at stake, it can definitely be responsible to ask for a sign so we don't make a mistake by our own emotions and inclinations getting in the way of us truly hearing the Holy Spirit's leading in our souls. What's at stake may be human lives, a very large amount of money, or a life path (career, marriage, etc.) - and since these "assets" all belong to God, asking for a sign can be just making sure we're not mishandling His possessions!
- Look at Gideon in Judges 6-7. He asked for a sign more than once about the same decision because he had 32,000 lives depending on him making the correct choice! Of course he wanted to make absolutely, positively sure that He was hearing God right!
- I think the same situation might be what's going on in Isaiah 7 . Isaiah instructs King Ahaz to ask for a sign so he will know he can trust the important prophecy about war he has just heard - but Ahaz refuses (under the guise of having faith), and is rebuked and cursed for it. A prophet ordained by God told him to ask for a sign because the prophecy was a really big deal, and it seems to me that the idolatrous king's refusal to ask for one shows that he didn't take God's plan for the war seriously.
Do you have thoughts you'd like to share about any of the circumstances described above, or can you think of another important type of situation involving asking for a sign? Leave a comment below. :-)