When King Ahaz found out that because he wouldn’t join in on Israel and Aram’s fight against Assyria, they were going to attack him/his kingdom, to say that he was afraid would be a giant understatement.
“They were badly shaken. They shook like trees in the wind.”
Isaiah went to Ahaz and said, “Listen, calm down. Don’t be afraid. And don’t panic over these two burnt-out cases, Rezin of Aram and the son of Remaliah. They talk big but there’s nothing to them.”
Ahaz ultimately worked with the leaders of Assyria and they protected him, ultimately taking over the kingdoms of Israel and Aram.
BUT – when Ahaz was afraid, he had no idea how the story would end.
What is it that we do when we are afraid? How do we manage our fear?
Isaiah told Ahaz to ask for a sign. Ahaz didn’t want one, he felt like he’d been so down on God for so long, he didn’t deserve a sign. Thus, Isaiah told him he was going to get one anyway!
Scholar John Goldingay explains it like this.
“The sign involves a girl having a baby….If she is at the moment a virgin, she will be an unmarried girl who is going to marry and conceive in the usual way….The point is that by the time a few months have passed and the girl has had her baby, the crisis that preoccupies Ahaz will be over. It will have been proved that ‘God is with us,’ and she will be able to call her baby God-is-with-us, Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:10-17)
Signs. They are real and if they happened in Hebrew scriptures, why do we doubt they happen today?
Are we connected enough, aware enough to recognize the signs?
For Ahaz the sign was to prove the point that he wasn’t alone. That God would be with in him and through all storms.
I guarantee you we get those same signs in our lives when it seems all is falling apart. Are we willing to see those signs?
Grace and Peace,