Isaiah 7:10–25 (NLT): The Sign of Immanuel
10 Later, the Lord sent this message to King Ahaz: 11 “Ask the Lord your God for a sign of confirmation, Ahaz. Make it as difficult as you want—as high as heaven or as deep as the place of the dead.”
12 But the king refused. “No,” he said, “I will not test the Lord like that.”
13 Then Isaiah said, “Listen well, you royal family of David! Isn’t it enough to exhaust human patience? Must you exhaust the patience of my God as well? 14 All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’). 15 By the time this child is old enough to choose what is right and reject what is wrong, he will be eating yogurt and honey. 16 For before the child is that old, the lands of the two kings you fear so much will both be deserted.
17 “Then the Lord will bring things on you, your nation, and your family unlike anything since Israel broke away from Judah. He will bring the king of Assyria upon you!”
18 In that day the Lord will whistle for the army of southern Egypt and for the army of Assyria. They will swarm around you like flies and bees. 19 They will come in vast hordes and settle in the fertile areas and also in the desolate valleys, caves, and thorny places. 20 In that day the Lord will hire a “razor” from beyond the Euphrates River—the king of Assyria—and use it to shave off everything: your land, your crops, and your people.
21 In that day a farmer will be fortunate to have a cow and two sheep or goats left. 22 Nevertheless, there will be enough milk for everyone because so few people will be left in the land. They will eat their fill of yogurt and honey. 23 In that day the lush vineyards, now worth 1,000 pieces of silver, will become patches of briers and thorns. 24 The entire land will become a vast expanse of briers and thorns, a hunting ground overrun by wildlife. 25 No one will go to the fertile hillsides where the gardens once grew, for briers and thorns will cover them. Cattle, sheep, and goats will graze there.
Babies grow up so fast. Don’t miss the moments you have with them. You blink and they are ready for their first haircut. You drop out for just a moment and they grow a foot in height and 3 feet worth of attitude. Babies become children in no time at all. That is the point of this prophecy.
King Ahaz was freaking out because the countries around him were gearing up to attack, and had already attacked some of the neighboring communities. He wanted a military solution to something he saw as a military problem.
God however was looking for a little bit of faith. In the same way that Jesus relieved Thomas’s doubts by showing him the wound marks on his body, so God told King Ahaz to simply ask for a sign and God would do it. But unlike Thomas, Ahaz refused to ask, refused to seek, and refused to look for God at all. So God told him what the sign would be: a son shall be born and before he is old enough to know right and wrong, those nations you fear so much today will not even exist.
God was raising up a “razor”, in the form of the King of Assyria who would conquer all the land. God planned to use this foreign king as a cleansing tool on Israel and her neighbors – for razors were not used as much for looking good, but as doctor’s tools, to cut hair from those who had skin diseases and needed a fresh start. Hair and beards were signs of maturity and authority, and God was letting them know they all needed to be as ones who were born again, to the hairless status of infants. The very land itself would go back to the way it was before people farmed it, inhabited only by wild livestock.
Advent reminds us that Christ is coming again, and that when He does, none of our own strength or possessions will save us. Our only hope is Jesus. He changed the lives of all in the Christmas story, and He will change our life as well.
He only asks us to trust him because sometimes the thing that looks like a loss to us is actually the cure that God has created to save us. God put Israel back on track as a nation that witnessed His glory to the world by sending the nations to conquer them. He saved us from sin by sending His Son to die for us. He saves us from death, by inviting us to pick up our crosses daily and follow him.
- What have you lost this year?
- What do you hope to find?
- What is God showing you as a sign of His faithfulness to you?
In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and