and the Incarnation
Ahaz was faithless.
Neighboring countries of Syria and Israel banned together
to fight the Southern Kingdom of Judah. Ahaz, the king of Judah, sent for the
king of Assyria to come to his rescue.
The LORD God is sovereign in the affairs of the nations and
He sent the Hebrew prophet Isaiah to counsel Ahaz. Isaiah said, “Take care, and
be calm, have no fear and do not be fainthearted because the two stubs of
smoldering firebrands . . .” (Isaiah 7:4). The two threatening countries are
just burned up pieces of firewood. God said, “It shall not stand, nor shall it
come to pass” (v. 7).
What would you have done if you were Ahaz? The pressure on
Ahaz was intense, not just the threat of war, but the LORD was breathing down
his neck as well. “If you will not believe, you surely shall not last” (v. 19).
Ahaz, you are as good as gone yourself if you do not trust Me. If you trust Me I
will deliver you from this smoke, but if you don’t you are through as a king.
Moreover, trusting in the Assyrian army is not trusting in Yahweh.
Ahaz refused to trust in the LORD. So He spoke to the king
again, “Ask for a sign for yourself from the LORD your God; make it as deep as
Sheol or high as heaven” (v. 11). Go ahead, ask Ahaz! What an opportunity to see
God do the impossible!
King Ahaz got a little religious. “I will not ask, nor will
I test the LORD” (v. 12). That was exactly what he was doing by not trusting
Yahweh. God invited Ahaz to ask for the “sign.” He was not testing God; God was
testing him. The “sign” was a pledge of divine certainty, a miracle wrought for
What would you have asked for? How would you have
Now if Ahaz had been a wise man he would have gone ahead
and asked. When God proposes a sign it is not a test; it was an invitation to
come and see what God can do in a time of crisis. “Listen now, O house of
David!” Isaiah was getting to a little testy. “Is it too slight a thing for you
to try the patience of men, that you will try the patience of my God as well?”
(v. 13). Isaiah did not say “your” God, but “my God.”
“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a
virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel”
I have no problem with the “virgin” because I do not have
any problem with “Immanuel.” The greater event is not the “virgin,” but “God
with us.” The Incarnation, God becoming flesh, is the great mystery. Isaiah was
referring to something very unusual. It would not be unusual for a maiden to
conceive; that happens every day. However, a “virgin,” a marriageable young lady
of unblemished reputation would be a very unusual “sign.” It pointed to the
J. W. Watts said the sign of the virgin would be “an
encouragement to a faithful remnant to Israel. As a wonder of wonders such as
had just been offered, and as a condemnation of the faithless elements in the
line of David.”
The prophet Isaiah developed the idea of the child to be
born (7:14), His birth (9:6f), His reigning (11:1f), and His death as the
suffering servant of the LORD (Isa 52:13-53:12).
“God with us.” That is the wonder of wonders. God in the
corporeal self-manifestation of Himself would be a super-human person. God with
us is the God-man. He is the incarnation of Deity. Immanuel would Himself be
El (God). This child to be born would be God among His people, and
characteristic of Him.
“God with us” is “Christ, in you the hope of glory”
(Colossians 1:27). “For in Him [Christ] all the fullness of Deity dwells in
bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all
rule and authority” (Col. 2:9-10).
How did the LORD God fulfill His “sign” given to Ahaz? The
angel Gabriel said to the virgin, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the
power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy
offspring shall be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35). “God with us” is “Jesus,
for it is He who will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).
“God with us.” “Christ in you.” Not only is all the
fullness of Deity dwelling “in bodily form” in Jesus Christ, but “in Him you
have been made complete . . .” (Col. 2:10).
The apostle Paul, in the verses that follow, stresses the
Christian’s vital union with Jesus Christ. “And in Him you have been made
complete . . . and in Him you were also circumcised . . . having been buried
with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in
the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. And when you were dead in your
transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together
with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions . . .” (Col. 2:11-13).
Don’t miss the greatest mystery in the Bible. “God willed
to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the
Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (1:27).
God’s great goal in the gospel ministry is “that we may
present every man complete in Christ” (v. 28).
Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006
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