Summary: Isaiah predicted the coming of Christ to a hard hearted king - even without his asking.
Again the LORD spoke to Ahaz, “Ask the LORD your God for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights.”
But Ahaz said, “I will not ask; I will not put the LORD to the test.”
Then Isaiah said, “Hear now, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of men? Will you try the patience of my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
Dear Fellow Seers of Jesus Christ,
This past Thursday I went to my son’s Christmas program at Wanamaker. I had to cringe as I walked down the hall past all of the letters posted to Santa Clause. Almost every letter said, “I have been pretty good, and I would like . . . .” All they seemed to be worried about was whether they were good enough to get the gifts that they wanted on Christmas. Talk about a work righteous bunch of selfish garbage! They should have written, “Santa, I want you to keep your gifts this Christmas and stay at the North Pole.” Call me Ebenezer Scrooge - “bah, humbug!” - but if you think Christmas is all about whether you get the gifts you asked for - you’re not celebrating Christmas in the right way.
I wonder what Mary or Joseph would think of our version of Christmas. Here they were on the night Jesus was born - without a heater or a bed, only concerned about having a safe and healthy birth, and here we are asking for DVD players, video games and the latest massaging gadgets. All these kids seem to be concerned about is whether Santa will give them all of the things they want - not realizing that most of it will be sitting in a closet five months from now or in the garbage - either that or it will be returned to the store the next day because they didn’t really want that one or it didn’t work.
Even if you get nothing but a lump of coal this Christmas, you can’t say that you got nothing for Christmas. For two thousand years ago, God gave us a baby through Mary - and named Him Jesus. We didn’t ask for this child to be given to us, but God gave Him anyway. Ironically, the best gifts we get are never the ones we ask for. The Holy Spirit gave us faith without our asking. (Ephesians 1:4, 2:1) God sent Christ long before we were even gleams in our mother’s eye. This gift of Christmas is illustrated wonderfully for us in the story of Ahaz and Isaiah. As we look at this, we’ll see the prediction of -
Immanuel: The Greatest Gift We Never Asked For!
I. Not asking is a sign of arrogance
God doesn’t base his gifts on the Santa Clause method. He doesn’t check who’s naughty or nice. If he did, we wouldn’t get anything! Paul says in Romans 3:10-12 “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” Imagine if God held to the Santa Clause method! God would come in crimson red fire this Christmas and say, “Merry Christmas! I’ll give you a gift alright! You want me to consider your life? Here’s a DVD for you - it’s a movie I’ve made of all of your sins - but just wait - I’ll take a good look at it in front of everyone on Judgment Day! You want a new coat? I’ve seen how selfish you’ve been with my possessions! So how about I take all of your clothes instead! You want a stocking filler? How about I put my boot in it and kick your rear for good measure!”
Thankfully, God doesn’t use that method. It’s very clear he DOESN’T use it from looking at WHO Isaiah speaks to with this prophecy. Ahaz was the 11th king of Judah. 2 Kings 16 says, Unlike David his father, he did not do what was right in the eyes of the LORD his God. 3 He walked in the ways of the kings of Israel and even sacrificed his son in the fire, following the detestable ways of the nations the LORD had driven out before the Israelites. 4 He offered sacrifices and burned incense at the high places, on the hilltops and under every spreading tree. It just so happened that the kings of Aram and Damascus were attacking his kingdom and ready to get the upper hand on him and all of his kingdom. Ahaz was worried. He should have been.