Isaiah 7 The Winds of War
March 10, 2009
The events of this chapter happen several years after those of chap 6. There Uzziah died, but his son Jotham had already become king (because Uzziah sinned and was punished with leprosy). In chapter 7 Jotham has also died and now Ahaz is on the throne of Judah.
Israel, the northern half of the divided kingdom (also called Ephraim), and a neighbor to the north Aram (Syria) joined forces to attack Judah and Jerusalem.
Ahaz was shaking in his boots (7:1-2) and Isaiah went to encourage him (7:3-9) Notice the compound name in verse 7, thus says the Lord GOD – the word Lord being that word that means ‘boss,’ ‘master,’ ‘sovereign’ and the word GOD is a translation of God who has revealed His name as Jehovah or Yahweh. This was to be an encouragement to Ahaz that the Sovereign Lord of the universe whose Name is Yahweh would not let the feared invasion occur. His responsibility? To believe! (7:9)
Then to further encourage the king in his faith stand, he was invited to ask for a sign, be it big or little. His response was one of disobedience veneered over with hypocritical humility: I will not ask, nor will I test the LORD (7:12).
To see the real reason why he did not want to trust God in this matter, turn to 2 Kings 16:7f. Ahaz had already made a trip to Assyria (an even more powerful enemy than Syria and Israel). He asked Assyria to help him defeat Syria and Israel. This was a bit like a mouse asking the lion in to help get rid of the house cat! Not exactly a smart move, and definitely not one of faith!!! The sad part was that he confessed to the king of Assyria that he was accepting the position of “servant” and “son” before that pagan king. (2 Kings 16:7) No child of the King of kings should ever make such a compromising statement!
Isaiah was furious at Ahaz’s response. He said in effect, “you may think it an easy thing to try the patience of mankind with your blabbering, but will you indeed try the patience of my God?”
Ahaz had turned the ship of Judah onto a path from which there was no return. Ahaz refused to ask for a sign so now he will get one of God’s choosing.
Behold a virgin will conceive (this spelled death to the prized “line of David” in the minds of these kings). The king – every king – had to come through the male descendent. But the announcement here is that a virgin, a woman without a human husband would bear a son (a promised king, the messiah) and his name would be called Immanuel. He would be a descendent from God through a virgin.
Though several more kings would come through this line of David, the decision was final and that line effectively severed. The sign became a sign of judgment on Ahaz and through him to the whole line of David, but at the same time – and this is the wonderful thing in all this story – this sign would be the announcement of God’s fulfillment of His plan to bring salvation to the world through the incarnation of His Son who would soon die for the sins of all mankind.
Out of a word of judgment, our great God brought promise of salvation. Think about that!