Isaiah 7 has the prophet beginning with a tirade about Ahaz who was a wicked king of Judah, worshipping other gods and even sacrificing his son to Molech. The only good thing Ahaz seemed to do was father Hezekiah, who became a good king of Judah. Ahaz makes a pact with Syria to save his skin. But King Ahaz and his people are filled with fear instead of with trust in God. They are shaken up and terrified in their hearts. God sends Isaiah out to meet Ahaz.
Isaiah is told to tell Ahaz “Be careful, be quiet, do not fear, and do not let your heart be faint”. The message was that he needed to trust God, and take courage in the Lord. The enemy was merely smoking fire – not a real threat if put in perspective against the very power of God. But Ahaz was focused on what he saw with his eyes, not what he should have felt in his heart. Ahaz fails to trust God. We have to truly trust God and His power in our lives. Ahaz is told “If you are not firm in faith, you will not be firm at all”. Faith is the foundation of our strength. We have to stand firm in it.
Ahaz doesn’t – he caves and while God spares Jerusalem – He doesn’t bless Ahaz. What could have been a complete and total victory was far less. Isaiah tells Ahaz to ask God for a sign of His power and presence. Ahaz refuses, which would have brought him blessing, but he was unwilling to put God to the test. This was not testing God in the wrong way. It is never testing God to do as He says. He wanted to show Ahaz His power and how it could be available to him through faith.
God takes it into His own hands. He tells Ahaz that since he won’t ask for a sign, God’s going to give one anyway. “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel”. This won’t be a simple small sign. This is the sign of all signs – the Son of God coming to earth to save us from our sin. This is far bigger than Ahaz as the prophecy is addressed to the entire house of David. What a blessing that we have a loving God who made a way for us through Jesus Christ!