Isaiah 7.10-25 — The sign of Immanuel, part 2

“Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz.” This is a real comfort to me.  He gets more than one chance to obey and trust. The Lord speaks to the ungodly and disobedient, not just to the righteous. I actually have a shot here. Just for a bit of fun history stuff here, Ahaz is younger than 30 yrs. old in this story.

“Ask the Lord for a sign.” The Lord puts himself in the role of a servant. He voluntarily, just as in Philippians 2, does not consider his “goodness” something to be grasped, but takes upon himself the role of a servant, putting himself at the disposal of a king who isn’t even necessarily godly. He puts Ahaz in the driver’s seat. “You pick. You decide. You choose.” God is not a heartless tyrant, overbearing, or brutish. We’ve seen this offer before and we’ll see it again. We saw it before as Solomon was about to become king, and God said to him, “Ask me whatever you want, and I’ll give it to you.” We will see it again in Jesus when we hear him say, “Ask me whatever you want, and I’ll give it to you.” It’s a spectacular display of God’s grace: “I will move heaven and earth to show you who I am.” And he does.
Ahaz. v. 12. What an idiot. He wants his own policies and strategies, and not the Lord’s, but he tries to make himself sound diplomatic. He doesn’t want to hear from God. He tries to make himself sound so pious, but the sound you hear is the hardening of his heart. This turns out to be a turning point in Israel’s history. Ahaz doesn’t know that, but it’s an important warning to us all: never turn away from the Lord. In that very hour, in which Isaiah was standing before Ahaz, the fate of Jerusalem was decided for more than 2,000 years.
V. 13. God doesn’t fall for his ruse. Men may not see the manipulations or mind games of others, or just put up with it, but with God it doesn’t work that way. “Be sure your sin will find you out.” “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”
V. 14, the famous prophecy. “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” Since he will not let God serve him, God will serve him a slice of judgment.  Since he refuses to ask for a sign, God signs him over to destruction. If he won’t trust God to show his love, he will certainly find that he can trust God to show the judgment.
Every day counts. Every breath counts. Every word counts. Make the most of your life, one day at a time.

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