Reading through the Bible together
Judah’s king Ahaz would rather make an alliance with Assyria, than trust God to protect his kingdom. Opposed to Assyria gaining a foothold in Judah, the king of Israel and the king of Syria joined forces (v.1) and went to war against Ahaz, planning to set up their own king of Judah (v.6). The people of Judah shook with fear, like trees in a strong wind (v.2).
The message of Isaiah to the anxious people in Jerusalem was “Be quiet, fear not, neither be fainthearted” (v.4). Although the message assured deliverance from the kings of Syria and Israel (vs.7-9), the chapter ends with a description of a future time of trouble caused by Assyrians (vs.17-25).
We are amazed at the lack of faith shown by king Ahaz. Even when chided for not believing (v.9), Isaiah challenges him to ask God for a sign (v.11). Ahaz may well have been thinking, “No way, my mind is made up!”
Are we that different than Ahaz? Have we learned to “trust in the Lord” with our whole heart (Proverbs 3:5)? Like the people in Jerusalem, are there things that make us shake with fear? A coming time of trouble? Persecution? Family, health, or financial problems? In the midst of tragedy and loss, is there no evidence of God’s love? No sign of hope?
Yes, there is! Hallelujah! With confidence in the coming Messiah, Isaiah says, “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign: Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (v.14). God with us! Jesus is heaven’s best sign! He has promised, “Lo, I am with you always” (Matt.28:20). “In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). “Let not your heart be troubled…I will come again” (John 14:1-3).
“We cannot but look forward to new perplexities in the coming conflict, but we may look on what is past as well as on what is to come, and say, ‘Hitherto hath the Lord helped us’ (1 Sam.7:12). ‘As thy days, so shall thy strength be’ (Deut.33:25). The trial will not exceed the strength that shall be given us to bear it. Then let us take up our work just where we find it, believing that whatever may come, strength proportionate to the trial will be given.” (Steps to Christ, p.125).
Even so, come Lord Jesus!
Lloyd and Sheila Schomburg