Summary: A promise given to David centuries ago led to the birth of a baby in Bethlehem.


Text: 2 Kings 16:1 – 9


• Title of sermon is “A Christmas Promise”

• What does this text have to do with Christmas?

• Israel was ruled by Saul for 40 years, by David for 40 years, and then by Solomon for 40 years.

• Following the death of Solomon, Israel split into 2 kingdoms:

o 10 tribes in the north formed the northern kingdom and retained the name “Israel”, also referred to as “Ephraim”

 Immediately fell into idolatry and rebelled against God

 At this time, northern kingdom had been ruled by 17 kings, all evil

 Pekah, 18th king, had become king by conspiring against and killing the previous king

o Two tribes in the south formed the southern kingdom, retaining the name of the larger of the two tribes, “Judah”

 Ruled by several good kings

 Ahaz was not one of those good kings

2 Chronicles 28

o He sacrificed his own children to an idol by burning them alive

o Cut the vessels of the House of God into pieces and shut up the temple

o Made pagan altars in every corner of Jerusalem

o Provoked the Lord God of his fathers to anger

o v. 22 – “…and in the time of his distress did he trespass yet more against the Lord: this is that king Ahaz.”

o North of the northern kingdom was Syria, ruled by king Rezin

 Throughout her history, Syria had been a foe to the Israelites

 David had defeated them, but Solomon lost control over the region

 Following kings had problems with Syria

o North of Syria was Assyria, ruled by Tiglath-Pileser III

 Assyrians were becoming the new super power, replacing Israel

 Assyrians known for their ruthlessness and cruelty to prisoners (that’s why Jonah didn’t want to go the capital city – Ninevah)

• Syria and northern kingdoms were enemies, but both were being threatened by the growing power of the Assyrians

o Decided to form a confederacy to fight against the Assyrians

o Ahaz invited to join the confederacy, but refused

o Northern kingdom and Syria invade Judah to conquer Jerusalem and put a puppet king on the throne that would join their confederacy

o 2 Chronicles 28:5 says that God allowed this invasion to take place to punish Ahaz for his wicked deeds

o In one day 120,000 of the people of Judah were killed, including the son of Ahaz and Ahaz’s second in command

o Also, 200,000 women and children taken into captivity

o The Edomites and Philistines were raiding Judah as well

o 2 Chronicles 28 also says that all this still did not cause Ahaz to turn to God – instead, he chose to ask the Assyrians for their help

• That’s where the Christmas promise comes in

I. A promise was made to David

o Rewind 300 years

o 2 Samuel 7:11b – 16

 David would have a child, who would succeed him and establish his kingdom (fulfilled about two years later with the birth of Solomon)

 This son would build the temple instead of David (fulfilled when Solomon completed the temple about 40 years later)

 The throne will not be taken away from him even though his sins justify it (fulfilled when Solomon died as king of the united kingdom)

 David’s house, throne, and kingdom shall be established forever (meaning the right to rule will never pass from David’s descendants)

II. A promise was made to Ahaz

o Isaiah 7:1 – 12

o Ahaz already lost his son; thought that the invasion was the end of his rule, and that a puppet king would be put in his place

o God sent Isaiah to remind Ahaz that he was a descendant of David, and that the right to rule would never pass from David’s line

o God says that the northern kingdom and Syria were both about to meet their end

 Calls them “smoking firebrands” (about to burn out) v. 4

 Says that within 65 years, northern kingdom would cease to exist (fulfilled about 12 years after this when Assyria conquered the northern kingdom and carried away all of the survivors) v. 8

 Warns Ahaz not to ask the Assyrians for their help

o Ahaz did not believe it

 v. 9 “If you don’t believe, then Judah will fall as well”

 God invites Ahaz to ask Him for a sign as proof that he would keep his promise to David

 Ahaz refuses because he has already made up his mind to ask the Assyrians for help

 God says he will show him a sign anyway

o Isaiah 7:13 – 16

 OT prophecies usually have two meanings: a near meaning and a distant meaning

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