Summary: What Isaiah saw that we need to see about Christmas. First in series.
The Old Testament prophets were sometimes called "seers" because they were able to see things from God to be shared with others.
Much of what they saw dealt with current events. But much of what the prophets saw also dealt with the future.
Many times, like in today’s text, God dealt with a current event through a prophetic message, and the revelation also dealt with the future at the same time.
The current event in Isaiah chapter seven is the deliverance of King Ahaz of Judah from the plot by the kings of Syria and Israel to dethrone him.
The future event is the deliverance of the human race from sin by Immanuel - "God with us"!
Do we see what Isaiah saw?
You’ll remember that when Joseph found out Mary was already expecting a child during their engagement that he thought about privately ending their plans for marriage. Then an angel appeared to him in a dream and told him not to fear to take Mary for his wife.
Joseph was enabled to see what Isaiah saw.
Do we see what Isaiah’s prophecy teaches us about Christ and Christmas?
1. Faith in God’s promises is the only way to find true peace in times of trouble.
It is important to note that Ahaz was not a righteous king. His life and rule did not please God. He offered sacrifices to pagan idols. (2 Kings 16:2-3) He even gave away the temple treasures to the King of Assyria as a political pay off. (2 Kings 16:8) He wanted the king of Assyria to protect him from the kings of Syria and Israel.
Think of it. The gold and silver items from the temple that had been set aside for the sole purpose of the worship of Jehovah, now carted off to Assyria.
Christ followers remember, "We are the temple of the living God." (2 Corinthians 6:16) Let us not give our temple treasures away by being "unequally yoked together with unbelievers" (2 Corinthians 6:14) like Ahaz was with the King of Assyria.
Instead of forging an alliance with a wicked king Ahaz should have been trusting in God.
By the way, the King of Assyria never did anything in return for the pay off. (2 Chronicles 28:21)
We always lose when we try to appease the world.
When we trust God however, we have "God with us"!
Our choice is between fear and faith.
In his book, "Get Out of Your Own Way", Mark Goulston, M.D., talks about "Overcoming Self-Defeating Behavior".
One chapter is devoted to the mistake of "Letting Fear Run Your Life".
"Stan was a 52-year old mechanical engineer at an aerospace company who drove forty miles to work each day. Then he had a car accident. After a short recuperation he was fine physically, but he remained injured mentally. He was terrified of driving. To preserve his job he bravedit out as a car pool passenger, but rode white-knuckled all the way. The only driving he did was to drive other people crazy."
"Ruth was a 43-year-old high school principal and mother of three. When she discovered that her husband Ted was having an affair, she went into a tailspin. Despite Ted’s elaborate displays of remorse and his sincere efforts to work through the marital problems that contibuted to his infidelity, Ruth could not overcome the paralyzing dread she felt whenever he was out of her sight. It got so bad that her own life came to a standstill."
"What do Stan and Ruth have in common? They were both trauma victims who were terrified to the point of incapacity by the fear of a recurrence."
Ahaz was also incapacitated by fear.
Dr. Goulston goes on in the chapter describing how people get to the point where they let fear run their lives. He also gives several excellent suggestions for taking action. One of them is, "Realize that apprehension and avoidance can be more damaging than whatever you’re afraid of." (That fits king Ahaz of Judah. His cure was worse than his illness.)
God’s suggestion is even greater than this!
He tells us that when we’re in trouble He will be with us! Emmanuel represents the promise that "God is with us". We have something greater than the solutions of the world - we have a heavenly solution - trust in the promises of God!
Which leads us to the next way we should apply what Isaiah saw.
2. Believing in God’s promise is the only way to withstand the enemy.
Notice Isaiah 7:9b - "If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all."