Going Deeper 12-17-19

The first reading for Advent 4…

Isaiah 7:10-16  10 Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, saying, 11 Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven. 12 But Ahaz said, I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test. 13 Then Isaiah said: "Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary mortals, that you weary my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel. 15 He shall eat curds and honey by the time he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good. 16 For before the child knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land before whose two kings you are in dread will be deserted.

 

And here we go yet again with a tricky piece of prophecy that many have tended to simplify as being about the birth of Jesus.  And, yes, as we have seen repeatedly, this text has its ultimate fulfillment in the coming of the Christ.  Yet we do well to also consider its original historical context, for there is meaning to be found there as well.

 

A simple summary: Ahaz, a weak and corrupt King of Judah, is fearful of a pending attack from two kings coming from the north.  God’s message through Isaiah is “fear not.”  The Lord even encouraged Ahaz to ask for a sign in order to convince him that he could indeed trust in God, but Ahaz refused.  Yet God gave him a sign anyway, pointing out that a young women would soon bear a son and give him a most meaningful name: Immanuel… “God with us.” 

 

Ahaz refused to recognize the sign or trust the message, and instead came up with his own plan… which ultimately led to great disaster.  Ahaz had fatal trust issues.

 

Matthew applies the message to the coming of Jesus: “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.”  The issue now for us is whether we recognize and trust the sign.  Mary, a young woman, bore a son.  While He was given many important names and titles, Jesus (which means “one who saves”) was and is  “Immanuel…”  Jesus is God with us.  When we trust those truths, all is well, and all will forever be well.

 

With You in Him, 


Mark Gabbert, Pastor
Zion Lutheran Church
Wellington, Colorado

"No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care."