Advent 2023 - Title

"and Jotham the father of Ahaz,- Matthew 1:9b

One of the worst kings of Judah, who even sacrificed his own son, mirroring the practices of the pagan nations around him. Ahaz did what was evil in the Lord's sight and sacrificed on the high places (2 Kings 16). Yet, it was to Ahaz, that Isaiah originally delivers the famous prophecy of the virgin who would give birth to a son, who would be called Immanuel (Isaiah 7). Even in a very dark time in Judah's history, the Lord still had the promise of the one who would come - foreshadowing the ultimate deliverance we needed through Jesus - God with us (Matt 1:18-23).

In Isaiah 7, Ahaz is told that Syria and Israel are in league together and are coming to fight Ahaz and the southern kingdom of Judah. Ahaz is afraid and the Lord sends Isaiah to tell him to not be afraid. Ahaz had a choice to make. Will he trust in the promises of God or not? The Lord says that if Ahaz trusts Him, He (GOD) will take care of Judah. 

God comes to Ahaz “again” in verses 10-11, offering to give him a sign in order to prove to him that He’ll do what he says He’ll do. The Lord was giving Ahaz an opportunity again to trust Him. In verse 12, Ahaz responds by rejecting the offer of a sign. Ahaz’s refusal of the sign that God offered is proof that he didn’t actually want to believe in God.

But the Lord responds to Ahaz’s unbelief. Isaiah writes in verse 13 that Ahaz had tried the people’s patience and was now trying God’s patience. In verse 14, Isaiah says that the Lord will give Ahaz a sign whether he likes it or not. Verses 14-16 tell us that sign - that there will be a child born and he will be called Immanuel, which means God with us.

To summarize what we see in the prophecy of 7:14, the sign the Lord provided has one meaning with two applications. The meaning is that God is with us and we shouldn’t fear what comes our way. The first application was for Ahaz’s day. He should not go to Assyria for help because the Lord was with Judah. 

The second application is for us today, because another child was born centuries later - the Son of God conceived by a young virgin named Mary. Therefore, we should not look to ourselves but rather trust in the Promised One, who was born of a virgin in Bethlehem because HE IS LORD!