Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14
I wonder how this landed on people seven hundred years before Christ came. We may accept this prophecy as known and believed today, but based on the responses in scriptures, they didn’t seem to. God With Us? Could they imagine it or understand it?
When you zoom out from this moment with God, King Azah, and the prophet Isaiah, the landscape is heavy. Isaiah served as a prophet to the people of Judah and during the reign of four different kings. This time period experienced war after war, and all the while Isaiah counseled the kings to trust only in the Lord. Wait on the Lord. But his advice fell on deaf ears resulting in defeats, captivity, and exile.
All the while, the people had turned away from God – their hearts weren’t in it. Interesting enough, they were still going to the temple and making sacrifices for their rebellion. They knew they weren’t following the Lord, but rather than truly repent and change, they tried to quick-fix their sins with worthless sacrifices. These sin and hypocrisy cycles continued for decades!
You know what I love about God and how he used Isaiah? In the midst of all of the disobedience from the kings and leaders of the nation, to the disobedience to the everyday people – at every level they had turned their backs on the Lord – but he remained. He still continued to give them hope. He didn’t leave them. He provided prophets to point the people back to himself. The thrill of hope is woven all through the book of Isaiah!
Isaiah is truly an amazing foretelling of Jesus. God used this one prophet to share so much hope and truth about our Messiah. The need of a savior was apparent, and Jesus Christ is our perfect provision!
These are just a few of the many recorded and fulfilled prophesies from Isaiah about the life and ministry of Christ.
When we zoom back in to what is happening specifically in Isaiah 7, we find King Azah too rebellious and too proud to ask God, or “test God”, even though God commanded him to. God wanted to have his whole heart and be fully trusted. Even after King Azah’s excuse to not ask God, God still offers him a sign of the future to come. A future of hope and salvation through Jesus. If the people would just trust the Lord and have faith! Today we can do exactly that. We can trust. We can follow the Lord. We can let go of our empty sacrifices and rely solely on the saving grace of Jesus.
As we continue looking toward the birth of Jesus, we can trust the one who sent him. He wants us to believe. He sent Jesus so He can be with us again. I’m praying that we all experience the thrill of the hope we have in Christ!