Almighty Heavenly Father, Maker of Heaven and Earth, to Thee I surrender! Strengthen me with the power of Your Spirit.
Read Isaiah 7:1–17
When Ahaz son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, was king of Judah, King Rezin of Aram and Pekah son of Remaliah king of Israel marched up to fight against Jerusalem, but they could not overpower it.
2 Now the house of David was told, “Aram has allied itself with Ephraim”; so the hearts of Ahaz and his people were shaken, as the trees of the forest are shaken by the wind.
3 Then the Lord said to Isaiah, “Go out, you and your son Shear-Jashub, to meet Ahaz at the end of the aqueduct of the Upper Pool, on the road to the Launderer’s Field. 4 Say to him, ‘Be careful, keep calm and don’t be afraid. Do not lose heart because of these two smoldering stubs of firewood—because of the fierce anger of Rezin and Aram and of the son of Remaliah. 5 Aram, Ephraim and Remaliah’s son have plotted your ruin, saying, 6 “Let us invade Judah; let us tear it apart and divide it among ourselves, and make the son of Tabeel king over it.” 7 Yet this is what the Sovereign Lord says:
“‘It will not take place,
it will not happen,
8 for the head of Aram is Damascus,
and the head of Damascus is only Rezin.
Within sixty-five years
Ephraim will be too shattered to be a people.
9 The head of Ephraim is Samaria,
and the head of Samaria is only Remaliah’s son.
If you do not stand firm in your faith,
you will not stand at all.’”
10 Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, 11 “Ask the Lord your God for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights.”
12 But Ahaz said, “I will not ask; I will not put the Lord to the test.”
13 Then Isaiah said, “Hear now, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of humans? Will you try the patience of my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. 15 He will be eating curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, 16 for before the boy knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, the land of the two kings you dread will be laid waste. 17 The Lord will bring on you and on your people and on the house of your father a time unlike any since Ephraim broke away from Judah—he will bring the king of Assyria.”
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat signs has God given you in your life? Are they warning signs to get you to stop or change direction?
Aram and Israel march against Jerusalem (1), where King Ahaz is afraid (2) and perhaps checking his water supply in preparation for a siege (3). God isn’t afraid of Aram or Samaria, even as a double act (8,9). He tells Ahaz to “keep calm and carry on” (4–7) but Ahaz is looking at the situation with human eyes instead of the eyes of faith. Ahaz sends to Assyria for help (2 Chron. 28:16), and while it will get him out of a scrape for the time being, it will bring much worse in the future (17).
Both Pekah of Samaria (also “Ephraim” and “Israel”) and Ahaz of Judah (“house of David”) are in covenant violation, and neither is paying enough attention (13) to the God who is King over both of them. The northern kingdom will soon be laid waste (8), but covenant
curses lie ahead for Judah as well (17).
The child of the young woman (14) is a message of judgment, but also points forward 700 years to the child of a virgin who will be Immanuel—“God with us”—in a way never seen before (cf. Matt. 1:23). And he will also be “God for us.”
Jesus did everything we could not. Reflect on what this means for you, and thank God.
Lord, help me to stand in Your strength through whatever challenges I face today.