Isaiah says that a virgin will give birth to a son who will be called Immanuel, which literally means "God with us" (v. 14) The New Testament makes clear this prophecy was fulfilled in the birth of Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:18-25)."
This quote is from the book I am journaling through. The book is titled The Essential Jesus: 100 Readings Through the Bible's Greatest Story and written by Whitney T. Kuniholm.
Again the LORD spoke to Ahaz, "Ask the LORD your God for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights." (Isaiah 7:10-11)Ahaz was the king of Judah, the southern kingdom of God's people at this point in history. Remember Israel, God's people, had been divided into two rival kingdoms. One in the south called Judah and one in the north called Israel. Jerusalem was the capital of the southern kingdom. Here in Isaiah chapter 7 Israel, the northern kingdom, has teamed up to attack Judah at Jerusalem saying "Let us invade Judah; let us tear it apart and divide it among ourselves" (Isaiah 7:4). This threat brought fear to King Ahaz and the people of Jerusalem. It shook them to the core. Through Isaiah God tells Ahaz to stay calm and don't be afraid, "It will not take place, it will not happen" (Isaiah 7:7). Not only does God reassure King Ahaz that this attack will not happen but God gives permission to Ahaz to request a miraculous sign or signal that Jerusalem will not be destroyed by these two kings. God tells him this sign can be anything, go for it, anything you can come up with. Ahaz refuses.
God provides a sign anyway and what a sign it was.
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. He will be eating curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, for before the boy knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, the land of the two kings you dread will be laid waste. (Isaiah 7:14-16)It is important to point out as with many of the Old Testament prophecies that what was written here may play out on two different levels. The obvious level to us in hindsight and importance is the birth of Christ, hundreds of years after this prophecy was made known. But it is also likely that this sign was fulfilled shortly after it was made. During the time this was written the reference to a virgin women could also be understood to be a young women. So it is likely that a son was born to a young women (possibly even a virgin) in Jerusalem not long after King Ahaz was given this sign and she gave him the name Immanuel. By the time this son was of an age that he knew right from wrong the two kings and kingdoms that were a threat to Jerusalem would be gone.
In taking this one step further this sign God gave Ahaz suggests that this threat may have hung over them for quite a period of time. Perhaps something like 12 years, since that would be about the age of a young person before he would be considered an adult knowing the difference between right and wrong. King Ahaz and his people in Jerusalem lived with a mortal threat hanging over them for some years. They lived in fear.
King Ahaz refused to be convinced of the truth he is given by God through the prophet Isaiah. He refused to believe God and trust His word. He and his people lived in fear of being destroyed when they didn't have to. God was offering them the truth of His protection. He was offering them hope. He gave them a sign to confirm the hope, protection, and deliverance he was offering them.
How often do we refuse to be convinced of the truth God has provided us in the Word, in Jesus? Truly convinced? Way to often I must admit. My own human reasoning and intellect so often builds a wall between my heart, my soul, and the miraculous signs God has laid out in the books, poems, and letters of the Holy Bible. I let the views of this world and my culture get in the way of simply looking at and understanding these signals and signs pointing to God's Son, Jesus. The more I understand these signs, the more I look at Jesus, the more I am convinced of God's truth. The more I am convinced the less I fear.
| More on the Essential Jesus journey. |Photo credit: The photo in this post is titled "And HE shall be Called". It was uploaded to flickr.com on January 15, 2006 by Kris Kros.