Signs 2

Signs 2

“Hear this, House of David! Isn’t it enough for you to wear out the people that now you have to wear out my God as well? Therefore the Sovereign will give you a sign: the maiden has conceived and is about to give birth to a son; she will name him “God With Us.”

                                                                                                                             Isaiah 7:13-14 author’s translation

King Ahaz was terrified. His two northern neighbors, Israel and Syria, had attacked Judah, bent on deposing him and putting somebody else, probably not from the house of David, on the throne. Now while he is checking his defenses, here comes Isaiah. (Why is it, when you least want religious advice, some pious soul shows up!)

“Good news, Ahaz! You can trust Yahweh!” (Oh, sure.)

“Ask him for a sign, as high as heaven or as deep as hell.” (What to do? You don’t want to appear a total atheist. Oh, I know.) “Oh, I wouldn’t think of testing God like that.” (Piety is a wonderful coverup for unbelief.)

“Ahaz, isn’t it enough that you wear out the people that now you have to wear out my God, too? Well, you’re going to get a sign anyhow, like it or not. The maiden has conceived and is about to give birth to a baby boy. She is going to name her baby “God With Us.” and before God With Us is three years old, the two nations you’re so frightened of are going to be gone!”

(Oh, great! What happens to me in those three years? Just like God; why can’t he show me something right now that will make me believe he can be trusted? And wait a minute, did he say the maiden has conceived? What’s that about?)

“Isaiah, why didn’t you just say a woman has conceived? A maiden is still a virgin.”

“I don’t know, Ahaz. But that’s what God told me to say. Maybe this sign is as high as heaven or as deep as hell. Maybe this isn’t just about God being with you and me in this crisis. Maybe it is about God actually – physically – coming to be with us through a virgin! Wouldn’t that be great, Ahaz?”

(Good grief! Now I’ve not only got a religious fanatic on my hands, but a certifiable nut!) “Oh yes, Isaiah, that is indeed a wonderful thought. I am so glad you shared it with me.” (Now go away and leave me alone.)

Yes, indeed, a sign as high as heaven and as deep as hell. It took 700 years for the sign to come to its full fruition, but it has “come to pass.” Praise the Lord! Some, like Ahaz, dismissed it as foolishness, but the saints, daring to believe what they could not see, trusted the God whose promises never failed. May we be like them this Christmas.

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