“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.” -Isaiah 7:14
Read Isaiah 7:10-17
It is easy to become overwhelmed by local, national and global events. They induce anxiety, fear and poor choices. I find it difficult to know what it means to trust God in practical ways, so I trust in powers around me or in my own abilities, often to my own detriment.
Facing the threat of war from neighboring countries, King Ahaz of Judah sought the advice of God through Isaiah. The message from Isaiah was to trust God for protection rather than to prepare for war. In light of the understandably uncomfortable message, Isaiah invited Ahaz to ask for any sign from God to allay his fears. Ahaz, refused, not out of piety, but because he had already made his own plans. Isaiah erupted in anger and gave a sign from God anyway—the sign of a child to be born, named Immanuel, meaning “God with us.” God would be with Ahaz but not in the way he presumed. The initial threat would pass while the child was young, but a subsequent invasion by a larger nation would overwhelm the country. God would be present to destroy rather than to protect because Ahaz was unwilling to trust God.
Centuries later, Matthew 1:22 quotes Isaiah 7:14 to indicate that God was still present, particularly in a child. Does it make sense to trust in a child when the world faces such serious problems? That child, Jesus, grew up and demonstrated trust in the face of death and God was with him by raising him from the dead.
Let us trust you, our strength, and turn aside from fear and doubt, as Jesus trusted and became our deliverer in all things.
Greg A. Camp, Ph.D., Professor of Biblical and Theological Studies,
Fresno Pacific University