Saturday, December 20, 2008
What was King Ahaz thinking? The prophet Isaiah had invited him to ask anything of God, but he turned it down! The truth is he was shaking in his boots—or sandals.
Two formidable nations, Syria and Ephraim, had joined forces to threaten Jerusalem, and Ahaz couldn’t see how he or his kingdom would survive. So when Isaiah prophesied that Jerusalem’s enemies would fail and, not only that, be destroyed, Ahaz wavered. It just seemed too illogical. In an attempt to bolster his faith, Isaiah even offered a sign from the Lord. But Ahaz declined, hiding behind an appearance of humility and deference.
What happens next teaches us a lot about God. Did he strike Ahaz down in anger or frustration? Did he relent in his promise to protect Jerusalem? No! Isaiah had offered a sign “deep as the nether world, or high as the sky” (Isaiah 7:11), and God went beyond these parameters and promised the impossible: A virgin would conceive and bear a son (7:14). It was a completely unexpected and miraculous sign that would signal salvation and eternal liberation from their enemies.
You may be facing some difficulties today. Maybe a child of yours is in trouble; you might have lost a close friend or be out of work; you or a loved one may have a terminal illness. What stands against you may seem formidable, and you may not know how to get through it. But don’t hesitate to ask God to intervene! He wants to show you that he is with you, walking beside you in your struggles.
Will your sign be exactly what you expect? Maybe, but maybe not. Ahaz’ sign surely wasn’t! You may wish that an enemy of yours would simply disappear, but God may turn the situation around and give you wisdom and strength that you never knew you had. You may want to see an interior struggle get resolved right away, but God may want to draw you closer to him as you work through it day by day with his help. God’s ways are mysterious sometimes, but you can always trust that his answer will lift you up and meet your deepest needs.
meditation: The Word Among Us