Peace replaced inner turmoil after I turned my life over to Jesus Christ, trusting him. Have you experienced a change like this? If so, I’d love to read about it. As spokesman-ink, I hope to convey the love and mercy of God.
(This is the fifth blog in a series about trusting God, under the larger umbrella of Rescued by Mercy, a study of Isaiah).
In the seventh chapter of Isaiah, the Evangelical prophet knows that King Ahaz of Judah needs this kind of peace. He and his people shake like leaves because they’ve heard the Northern Kingdom has joined with Aram to fight against Judah and “tear it apart” (v. 6).
God sends Isaiah to King Ahaz to encourage him to trust the LORD who has said, “It will not happen,” (v.7). Isaiah tells Ahaz to stand firm in his faith. The Lord says to him (and to us), “If you want me to protect you, you must learn to believe what I say,” (Is. 7:9, LB).
Isaiah’s faith, based on God’s power, wisdom, and holiness, enables him to proclaim that God can be trusted. God invites Ahaz to trust him, to ask for a sign that what he says will come to pass, but Ahaz, in his unbelief, refuses. (This is what God had predicted—people would reject Isaiah’s message. Ahaz would rather trust Assyria than trust the transcendent God!)
God apparently intended this special privilege (a sign) to instill faith in Ahaz. Many times in the Bible, God says “ask.”
“Ask for rain,” (Zech. 10:1), “Ask-Seek-Knock,” (Mt. 7:7-9), “Ask…and your joy will be complete,” (John 16:23-24), “Ask in prayer,…believe,” (Mk.11:24-25), Ask in Jesus’ name…for anything, (John 14:13-14), Ask for wisdom, (James 1:5), Ask, but not with wrong motives, (James 4:2-3).
Although the King refuses to ask for a sign, Isaiah says “The Lord himself will give you all a sign,” (Isaiah 7:14-25). The sign will be Immanuel, born of a virgin.
Many, like Ahaz, reject God’s gracious offer. Yet God is with us even in the midst of judgment. (Note: Immanuel means God with us). For those who don’t believe God, this is scary. But for those who believe, it is security.
This sign has a double fulfillment. God is Immanuel then and now. When Isaiah’s son (whose two names symbolize judgment and salvation) was born of the young woman (his wife) as he predicted, it showed Isaiah’s countrymen the truth of his message: “God is with us.” God also had a further and greater purpose for this prophecy: God’s own Son would be born as a human from a virgin and live among humans.
The Old Testament shows God is a person who desires personal relationships. He walked with Adam & Eve (Gen.3:8) & Enoch (Gen.5:22). Abraham was his friend, David was a man after God’s own heart. God was with Isaac (Gen. 26:28), & Joseph (Gen. 39:2), & Gideon, (Judges 6:12). God also wants a relationship with each of us. By trusting him, we can have that relationship.
As long as the king and people of Judah walked with God in trust and obedience, God protected them and gave them peace.
If we “fear” the Lord, i.e. revere him and trust in him, we need fear nothing else.The only time we need to be afraid is when we go outside of God’s will.
Chapters 7-12 of Isaiah are unified around this theme of trusting in God instead of in alliances with human nations. The commentary says, “This God, the Holy One of Israel, is great enough, wise enough, and transcendent enough that he can be trusted. If Israel can only get that vision of Yahweh, there will be hope for them,” (Oswalt, 136.) If we, in present day America, can get the vision that God is trustworthy, there will be hope for us, too.
See also these scriptures: 2 Chron.15:15b, Dt.10:12, Eccl.12:13, Isa.8:13, Mt.10:28, Ps.23:4.