Friday

‘Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary mortals that you weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.' (vs 13-14)

Isaiah 7:10-16 Friday 24 December 2021

Psalm 123

Background

In the Bible passage today Isaiah is not amused – and we can understand why. He was a person of significant social standing and familiar with the king. God told him to meet the king, taking his son, Shear-jashub, with him. Isaiah's message to King Ahaz is that he must trust in God at this time of real threat to the nation. The context was the Syro-Ephraimite war, when the southern kingdom of Judah, which Ahaz ruled, was threatened with attack from a coalition of the northern kingdom of Israel and Assyria (7.1). Isaiah told Ahaz that this danger would pass (7.16), but Ahaz remained unconvinced, leading to an irritated outburst from Isaiah.

Looking around in frustration perhaps, Isaiah saw a visibly pregnant woman and declared that all will be well by the time her baby was a growing child (vs 14-16). This image, seen as foretelling the coming of Jesus, has led to chapters 6-12 of Isaiah being called the Book of Immanuel ('God with us').

These verses, and those immediately before them, are full of fascinating detail: we are told exactly who the respective kings are and of where they are the rulers and we learn the nature of the threat to Jerusalem (v. 1). We read precisely where Isaiah, together with his son, is to go to meet with the king (v. 3). And we are given a clear idea of how soon this threat will disappear (v. 16).

God speaks into the realities and complexities of life, and through the child whose birth will be celebrated tomorrow, he enables his people to handle what may come their way. What God asks for is trust: "Take heed, be quiet, do not fear and do not let your heart be faint." (v. 4)

To Ponder:

  • Reflect on a time when you felt overwhelmed by life – and how trust in God helped you.
  • Today as we prepare for the birth of Christ, what new possibilities, new beginnings and new hopes might we embrace as we trust God?

Prayer
Loving God, in your son Jesus, heaven came to earth. May we put our trust in him for whatever life brings. Amen.

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