Note from Duckie~ We’ll only be doing this one chapter this week, but hopefully next week I’ll be able to get 2 more chapters on the porch!
When Ahaz son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, was king of Judah, King Rezin of Aram and Pekah son of Remaliah king of Israel marched up to fight against Jerusalem, but they could not overpower it.
Now the house of David was told, “Aram has allied itself with Ephraim”; so the hearts of Ahaz and his people were shaken, as the trees of the forest are shaken by the wind.
Then the Lord said to Isaiah, “Go out, you and your son Shear-Jashub, to meet Ahaz at the end of the aqueduct of the Upper Pool, on the road to the Launderer’s Field. Say to him, ‘Be careful, keep calm and don’t be afraid. Do not lose heart because of these two smoldering stubs of firewood—because of the fierce anger of Rezin and Aram and of the son of Remaliah. Aram, Ephraim and Remaliah’s son have plotted your ruin, saying, “Let us invade Judah; let us tear it apart and divide it among ourselves, and make the son of Tabeel king over it.” Yet this is what the Sovereign Lord says:
“‘It will not take place, it will not happen, for the head of Aram is Damascus, and the head of Damascus is only Rezin. Within sixty-five years Ephraim will be too shattered to be a people.
The head of Ephraim is Samaria, and the head of Samaria is only Remaliah’s son. If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.’”
Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, “Ask the Lord your God for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights.” But Ahaz said, “I will not ask; I will not put the Lord to the test.”
Then Isaiah said, “Hear now, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of humans? Will you try the patience of my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
He will be eating curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, for before the boy knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, the land of the two kings you dread will be laid waste. The Lord will bring on you and on your people and on the house of your father a time unlike any since Ephraim broke away from Judah—he will bring the king of Assyria.”
In that day the Lord will whistle for flies from the Nile delta in Egypt and for bees from the land of Assyria. They will all come and settle in the steep ravines and in the crevices in the rocks, on all the thornbushes and at all the water holes. In that day the Lord will use a razor hired from beyond the Euphrates River—the king of Assyria—to shave your head and private parts, and to cut off your beard also.
In that day, a person will keep alive a young cow and two goats. And because of the abundance of the milk they give, there will be curds to eat. All who remain in the land will eat curds and honey. In that day, in every place where there were a thousand vines worth a thousand silver shekels, there will be only briers and thorns. Hunters will go there with bow and arrow, for the land will be covered with briers and thorns. As for all the hills once cultivated by the hoe, you will no longer go there for fear of the briers and thorns; they will become places where cattle are turned loose and where sheep run.
We’ve talked alot on the Heartbeat about standing firm in the faith, and in this chapter of Isaiah, Ahaz, King of Judea is warned by Isaiah to stand in faith, trust in the Lord and be established. Judea was under siege from Syria and Ephraim, and understandably Ahaz was afraid. But the Lord sent Isaiah and his son to meet with the king, to reassure him to stand and watch what the Lord would do, if only he would trust.
If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established. The Lord definitely gives Ahaz a clear choice, as He often does for all of us. We might not have a prophet showing us what the Lord will do if we trust, but we have His written word of ways that He is proven trustworthy… if we believe it for ourselves and our circumstances.
Isaiah even tells Ahaz to ask for a sign from the Lord, maybe to encourage him more. He was in fact being tested when he was given the opportunity to give the Lord a test.Whatever the case, Ahaz wanting to sound righteous, but gives an obviously hollow reply similar to “I don’t dare test the Lord! Who am I to do that?!” Contrast that with the old story of Gideon and his fleece. Not only did Gideon throw out the first fleece to test the Lord, but he threw out a second one to be sure. And what about Abraham? “Surely if there are 50 righteous people, you will not destroy the city…”
There are times when we need to have discernment, and God doesn’t mind us asking for a sign. Ahaz however, whether from fear or just unbelief, failed the test and proved his own deceitfulness, so the Lord told Isaiah of a sign to tell him anyway. And what a sign! A prophecy concerning Jesus Messiah that would be echoed in the Book of Matthew about 700 years later! “Behold, the virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call Him Immanuel”
In commentaries about this portion of Isaiah, this interesting point is made. Immanuel means God with us, but what is Isaiah saying here to Ahaz? If you stand firm in faith, then “God is with us” in blessing. If you do not stand firm in faith, then “God is with us” in judgment.
Scripture tells us that Ahaz failed the test, and failed to stand in faith… and failed to be established and Judea was taken by Assyria, and for over 20 years, Judea was devastated by the Assyrians.
What could have been had Ahaz simply trusted and stood firm in faith in the Lord God. It’s something we need to consider whenever our faith may waiver- which it does every now and then, even for the strongest believer. When those times come, the best things we can do to “be established” in our faith is to read His Word, the times when He has proven trustworthy. Remember times in our own lives when He has helped us. Praise and Thank Him for all He has done for us and His people. Pray. If you need clarity or discernment, don’t be afraid to ask Him. Sing and worship, even if you’re afraid and don’t feel like it- that’s the most important time we need to do these things. And if you can, talk to a brother or sister in Christ, and have them join in praying with you.
God knows what we need, He knows our future. He knows our hearts and fears, and He simply asks that we trust Him in all the uncertainties we’ll have. That goes for our individual lives- whatever we’re facing, and in our nation. This election is a real uncertainty, scary and a turning point for our nation no matter who might ‘win’. It’s imperative that we trust Him in all things. And remember his words… “But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Have a blessed day all!