Isaiah 7:9 | Christmas Hope

hope

Ahaz the King of Judah, an heir in the line of King David, receives news that Israel the northern kingdom that split from the kings of David has joined forces with Syria to attack Judah. Fear grips the nation of Judah over this news.

When the house of David was told, “Syria is in league with Ephraim,” the heart of Ahaz and the heart of his people shook as the trees of the forest shake before the wind. Isaiah 7:6 ESV

Isaiah the prophet of Judah is instructed by God to give encouragement to the people and the king that they can win this battle if they would trust in God and have faith in him. God has made promises in the past. Ahaz is an heir to that promise. Ahaz has a responsibility as leader of the nation to live up to the promise made to each king to succeed David.

4 And as for you, if you will walk before me, as David your father walked, with integrity of heart and uprightness, doing according to all that I have commanded you, and keeping my statutes and my rules, 5 then I will establish your royal throne over Israel forever, as I promised David your father, saying, ‘You shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.’ 1 Kings 9:5 ESV

God has instructed Isaiah to remind Ahaz that this promise is still in effect. Isaiah calls Ahaz to stand firm in faith as the nation of God’s people.

If you are not firm in faith, you will not be firm at all.’” Isaiah 7:9b ESV

The fear of war is ahead not because all will be lost but because the faith of Ahaz is not in God but in his own power and strength. Ahaz knows he will loose his kingdom and his life when these armies march to own his land. One would think that Ahaz would at last at this moment turn to the God of his fathers. God reaches out with loving mercy. Through Isaiah God wants to give Ahaz encouragement and strength.

10 Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz: 11 “Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven.” 12 But Ahaz said, “I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test.” Isaiah 7:10-12 ESV

Ahaz however is an evil and rebellious man. Facing a war, he can’t win God tells him to ask for a sign in advance of the deliverance that God will bring about. God is telling Ahaz he can ask for anything and it will be done. But Ahaz refuses the request.

Often, I hear from the Atheist or the skeptic. If God is real then why does he not just speak and reveal himself. Why must he remain hidden. My response is that based on the numerous examples throughout the bible when God does speak audibly and reveal himself the outcomes remains the same. The person is still an Atheist and a skeptic. Ahaz is such a selfish evil man that he refuses to acknowledge God because if he did then there would be an obligation to submit to God’s authority. Ahaz would rather die at the hands of men than submit to a God other than himself.

13 And [Isaiah] said, “Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary men, that you weary my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Isaiah 7:13-14 ESV

God would have welcomed and given power to Ahaz but Ahaz did not want any part of God’s plans. The problem for Ahaz however is that God is going to move forward because God’s will not be stopped. One has a choice to follow God where he is a work or one has the choice to avoid God’s work and be swept away into a life apart of God which is hell. Ahaz failed himself and his people but God’s work was still completed. Not only was it completed but one of the greatest signs of deliverance to ever be promised was given at this time. This prophecy, a sign, was held for hundreds of years until Jesus was born.

20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). Matthew 1:20-23 ESV

Not only would God deliver Ahaz from this temporary crisis. God promised to deliver the world’s sin by coming to earth in the form of a man. God with us. Immanuel. The greatest event in the history of the world. God taking on the form of a baby born to a virgin in order to save His creation. It is beyond belief. It is an amazing, epic event that we celebrate every year at Christmas. The birth of God in the form of a baby boy. God just as he spoke to Ahaz thousands of years ago he speaks to us now. A sign has been given to all people. “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” The miracle has been recorded. The event came to pass just as Isaiah foretold and we each have a decision to make. Remember the words of Isaiah to Ahaz.

If you are not firm in faith, you will not be firm at all.’” Isaiah 7:9b ESV

Do you choose to be like Ahaz and refuse the miracle of salvation accepting death and hell or do you accept by faith the firm hope of “God with us” in the form of Christ and what he has sacrificed?