Reading: Isaiah 7:10-16
Verse 14: “Therefore the Lord will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”
In this week’s Isaiah passage, King Ahaz is the king of Judah. The king of Israel and two other kings have formed an alliance and plan on invading and dividing up Judah. The Lord tells Ahaz that this will not happen, encouraging him to “stand firm in your faith.” Then, in today’s text, God encourages Ahaz to ask for a sign – a sign that God is with him. Ahaz refuses. He chooses self over God. God then has a word or two for Ahaz.
At times I’ve gone where Ahaz goes. I’ve been in a tough spot and, instead of accepting the standing offer of God’s help, I essentially say to God, ‘God, I’ve got this. No, I don’t need a sign.’ Maybe you too have let your pride or arrogance get in the way of God working in your life.
After getting on Ahaz for testing God, Isaiah informs Ahaz that God will still give a sign of God’s presence with us: “Therefore the Lord will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” This gift of Jesus will be a sign of God’s continued love for Judah and for Israel and, indeed, for all of humanity. The miracle of the birth and the life of the Son reveals the depth of God’s love.
At the end of verses 16 God hints at the consequence of testing God. The details continue in verses 17. Two kingdoms – Judah and Israel – will fall to Assyria. One after the other will pay for their rebellion against and for their rejection of God. When I’ve chosen self over God, I too suffer. God’s way is always better. Yet, through Jesus, God continues to love even me. Thanks be to God for a love that never ends and for a grace that is always greater than my sin and failure.
Prayer: Lord God, thank you for your great love. Please continue to shape and refine me, to purge away my chaff. Day by day, break my selfish spirit and align me more and more with the heart of Jesus Christ. Amen.