S (Scripture): Isaiah 7:10 Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz: 11 “Ask a sign from the Lord your God. Make it as deep as the grave or as high as heaven.”
12 But Ahaz said, “I won’t ask; I won’t test the Lord.”
13 Then Isaiah said, “Listen, house of David! Isn’t it enough for you to be tiresome for people that you are also tiresome before my God? 14 Therefore, the Lord will give you a sign. The young woman is pregnant and is about to give birth to a son, and she will name him Immanuel [“God with us”]. 15 He will eat butter and honey, and learn to reject evil and choose good. 16 Before the boy learns to reject evil and choose good, the land of the two kings you dread will be abandoned. 17 The Lord will bring upon you, upon your people, and upon your families days unlike any that have come since the day Ephraim broke away from Judah—the king of Assyria.”
O (Observation): King Ahaz is the king of Judah, the remnant of God’s chosen people. They are less than perfect, and God has called upon Isaiah (touching a burning coal to his lips, remember?) to speak truth to God’s people. Isaiah called upon God’s people to trust God and believe that Judah is NOT beyond redemption.
What will this redemption look like?
The young woman is pregnant and is about to give birth to a son, and she will name him Immanuel [“God with us”].
Sound familiar? See Matthew 1:23 : )
In Isaiah’s time and in the time of Mary’s pregnancy, God’s people are in a time of difficulty. They are in need of salvation and help from the Lord.
God remains faithful. God gives them hope.
Isaiah reminds King Ahaz that Judah’s enemies – in the span of about 2-3 years (or, about the time it would take for the pregnant woman to give birth and teach the child right from wrong) – will be no more. They can trust that God will provide for them.
A (Application): So many things to do and so little time and motivation. We all hit roadblocks. We see obstacles and challenges and don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. We feel trapped.
We want to be smart enough to figure a way out. We want to work harder to make the work “ours” – to put our stamp on it. We want to prove to God how worthy we are.
And the sad thing is, we sometimes make it not realizing that it was God who gave us what we need to make things work. We forget that God gave us the relationships and the skills we need to make things work out. We forget that God called upon others to provide us guidance and wisdom.
We claim for ourselves what God has done, is doing, and will continue to do.
We forget that hope came through a pregnant woman – Mary – which was not our doing. We forget that God is our protector, choosing instead to protect ourselves by shouting on social media about how we need to be stronger as Christians. We shout about how we need to really step up and claim God for this nation and to push back all others.
Instead, I call for unity, in the midst of diversity. We come together, people of varied nations and tongues, seeking goodness and mercy and justice for all. We do this, confident that the Lord will provide us with merciful and just leaders.
This starts with you. Where do you see a need for justice? Where do you see a need for mercy?
Remember that you need others to be just and merciful for you, too.
P (Prayer): Lord, make us wise not in the ways of the world, but wise in your ways. Amen.