11/22/2010

Immanuel (Isaiah 7)

Isaiah 7:1-9 "Be careful, keep calm, don't be afraid, do not loose heart"

When a coalition of Israel and Syria threatened to invade Judah (Isa. 7:1,2), God gave Ahaz, the king of Judah, a promise through Isaiah that they will not succeed (Isa. 7:3-9). Isaiah's son's name "Shear-jashub" means "a remnant will return." It is a promise of salvation to the faithful remnant believers among God's people. It suggests both judgment (God's people will be reduced to a remnant) and grace (that remnant will return). God wanted Ahaz to trust God and stand firm in his faith: "If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all" (Isa. 7:9).

Isaiah 7:10-24 The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son

At this critical moment, Isaiah spoke to Ahaz to encourage him to ask for a sign from the Lord (Isa. 7:10,11) in order to put his firm faith in God. But Ahaz decided to trust the king of Assyria (Isa. 7:9), instead of trusting a far more reliable ally: "the Lord himself" (Isa. 7:14). He put his firm faith in a man, the king of Assyria, by giving him gold from the temple in order to induce him to attack Syria (2 Kings 16:1-9). Despite his stubborn refusal to trust God (Isa. 7:12), God gave him a sign of a virgin conceiving a son, which Matthew applied to the virgin birth of Christ (Matt. 1:23). The name, Immanuel, means "God is with us." God being with his people is a promise that God will help them fulfill their calling (Gen. 21:22; Ex. 3:12; Deut. 2:7; Josh. 1:5; Ps. 46:7, 11; Isa. 41:10).

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