In Isaiah 7 King Ahaz in Jerusalem is scared stiff because he is surrounded by his enemies. Northern Israel and the kingdom of Syria have joined forces against Ahaz. Verse 2 says “the heart of Ahaz and the hearts of his people trembled like trees of a forest shaking in the wind.”
What is Ahaz’s response? Ahaz first response was not to go to the Lord, but to try and find a solution of his own. He looks to secure a water source in case of a siege. Then he seeks to make an alliance with the Assyrian empire, which we know from 2 Kings 16. This got me thinking about how we respond to problems that assail us. So often when we are bombarded with worldly problems we seek worldly solutions. Like Ahaz, we seek to try and come up with our own solution or we seek help from the wrong direction.
God, however, offers a different solution. The Lord through Isaiah calls Ahaz to stand firm in the promises of God. “Calm down and be quiet,” Isaiah says. “Don’t be afraid or cowards because of these two smoldering sticks.” What seemed like consuming wildfires to Ahaz were just puny smoldering sticks to the Lord. The Lord says, “If you do not stand firm in your faith then you will not stand at all.” God’s grace and protection only come by faith. He is the one who guarantees our future.
The Lord then famously offers King Ahaz a sign, “the virgin will conceive and have a son, and he will be called Immanuel.” This was a sign for Ahaz and Israel that God is trustworthy. However, because Ahaz and Israel did not trust the Lord it did them no good.
We too have a sure and steadfast sign of God’s faithfulness to us, Immanuel, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. No one who trusts in him will be put to shame. Though like a wine press, we might feel pressed in from all sides, we know the Lord will fulfill his promises. We know he will complete the good work he began in us. We know he will carry out justice in his time. We know he will work out his gracious purpose. We know we will be with our Lord and Savior. We know all this because he sent us Jesus, Immanuel, ‘God with us’ to die for us and bring us to himself.
Pastor Luke LeViere