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 men? Will you try the patience of my God also? 14 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. 15 He will eat curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right. 16 But 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.”
18 In that day the LORD will whistle for flies from the distant streams of Egypt and for bees from the land of Assyria. 19 They will all come and settle in the steep ravines and in the crevices in the rocks, on all the thornbushes and at all the water holes. 20 In that day the Lord will use a razor hired from beyond the River —the king of Assyria—to shave your head and the hair of your legs, and to take off your beards also. 21 In that day, a man will keep alive a young cow and two goats. 22 And because of the abundance of the milk they give, he will have curds to eat. All who remain in the land will eat curds and honey. 23 In that day, in every place where there were a thousand vines worth a thousand silver shekels, there will be only briers and thorns. 24 Men will go there with bow and arrow, for the land will be covered with briers and thorns. 25 As for all the hills once cultivated by the hoe, you will no longer go there for fear of the briers and thorns; they will become places where cattle are turned loose and where sheep run.
Keep This In Mind
This passage from Isaiah contains a famous verse, the reference to Immanuel, or “God With Us”. Although it is a famous verse that prophesies as to the coming of Jesus (who would be born from a virgin), it also was a prophecy of events that were transpiring in the days of Ahaz and Isaiah. This makes the passage a little confusing because we read it as modern people, largely unaware of the ancient context.
But I think there is a message for us, in the midst of the confusion. I’m not sure the prophecy was any clearer for King Ahaz as it was for us, as it discusses Egypt and Assyria using metaphors of livestock and agriculture – clear as mud. But the guiding and encouraging principle is what Isaiah started off with, that no matter what is to come for Israel…God is with them.
Sometimes, the basic message of the gospel can get lost in the details. The future can seem very foreboding and hazy for us – what choice do we make? What is to come? How will we fare? How will everything possibly work out? As weighty and difficult as these questions are, we always have to remember first that God is with us – this places all of those difficult questions in a very different, and far less threatening context.
Yes, there is uncertainty…but God is with us.
Yes, there will be hard choices…but God is with us.
Yes, there will be hardship…but God is with us.
Immanuel, God is with us.
1. What situations of your life are uncertain and unsettled?
2. How does the fact that God is with you in those situations change how you perceive or address those situation?
3. How do we know that God is with us? How do we become more aware and sensitive to his presence?