You might say you trust God, yet you shake in your boots at the threats around you. Then you finally call out to God, you treat him like a genie in a bottle. The closer we are to God, the easier it will be to call upon the Lord. He is with us. Don’t test him – trust him!
1 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.
2 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.
3 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. 4 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. 5 Aram, Ephraim and Remaliah’s son have plotted your ruin, saying, 6 “Let us invade Judah; let us tear it apart and divide it among ourselves, and make the son of Tabeel king over it.” 7 Yet this is what the Sovereign Lord says:
“‘It will not take place,
it will not happen,
8 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.
9 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.’”
10 Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, 11 “Ask the Lord your God for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights.”
12 But Ahaz said, “I will not ask; I will not put the Lord to the test.”
13 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? 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
Ahaz was afraid of Rezin and Remaliah. They were apparently trying to pressure him to join them in fighting against Assyria. The consequence for not joining was that these frenemies marched upon Jerusalem. Isaiah was sent to Ahaz to calm him.
It would not happen. God had their backs. In fact, God promised that Rezin’s and Remaliah’s territories would be overthrown themselves, which happened in short order. This wasn’t about Syria or Israel. This was about Judah. This was about Ahaz.
This was about God’s people not trusting that God had them covered.
Do you believe that God has your back? Maybe not, eh? You might say you trust God, yet you shake in your boots at the threats around you. That’s what Ahaz was doing. Because he didn’t really trust God the way he should.
And so Isaiah challenged him to ask God for a sign. He wouldn’t. He didn’t want to put God to the test. That was wise, considering Deuteronomy 6:16, which teaches us not to test God. Notice that people of little faith get in trouble for testing God, who doesn’t appreciate being tested like an unreliable genie in a bottle, yet this isn’t an issue for people who walk close with the Lord?
King David, when he was chasing after God’s own heart and running from King Saul, never hesitated to ask for God’s help or cry out to him. The closer our relationships with God, the easier it will be to call upon the Lord, and the less likely God will respond with, “Who are you again? Do I know you?”
Ahaz would receive a sign in the form of a baby who will be called Immanuel. God’s actions would be completed against Rezin and Remaliah before the baby would reach age of discernment. Again, let’s not get hung up on those details for a moment. This isn’t about Rezin, remember? It’s about Ahaz and Judah. It’s about us.
The prophecy was Immanuel. God with us. That’s the translation of the name of the baby. And that’s God’s point for them and for us: we should believe and act and live in the reality that God is with us. If we believed that wholeheartedly, we would have amazing faith and not fear those who oppose us or who oppose God.
Immanuel. Do you trust that God is with you? If you do, how does your life reflect that trust? What has you shaking which is in God’s hands? Transfer your anxiety. Cast it upon your Lord. He cares for you. He has your back.