Summary: This is a Christmas sermon.
What is Christmas all about? In the classic Charlie Brown Christmas special, C. Brown cries out, “Will someone tell me what Christmas is all about?” Christmas is commercial.
Read Isaiah 7:10-16.
This passage tells what Christmas is really about: “God with us,” that is what Immanuel means.
1. Our MISTRUST
King Ahaz had put his trust in foreign alliances. The Northern Kingdom of Israel had been conquered, and Judah was in trouble. Rather than trust God, Ahaz trusted foreign alliances.
We fail to trust God when we put our trust in earthly resources: bank account, position, power, good looks (that’s hard for me), brains, friends, family, or anything other than God. That doesn’t mean we don’t take care of what we have.
A. Our FEAR
Ahaz feared that his kingdom would soon come an end. He feared the enemies of his kingdom. His fear led him to ally himself with foreign powers rather than allying himself with God.
What do you fear? We fear lots of things. We are scared of snakes, spiders and big dogs. We fear death, sickness, and aloneness. We fear for our children’s safety. We fear the boogie man and the dark. We fear the future and the unknown.
We fear that God will ask us to do something we don’t want to do. He might ask us to pack our bags and become a missionary in Africa.
Ahaz was afraid to ask God for a sign, because he knew that God would give him the sign. We know deep down that we shouldn’t fear anything. We know deep down that we should trust God.
B. Our EXCUSES
Our fear leads us to make excuses. Ahaz had an excuse. He didn’t want to put God to the test. He faked spirituality by alluding to Deut. 6:16, “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.” God had told him to ask for a sign, but he refused.
A lot of times, we make excuses under the guise of spirituality. We decline to hang out with people who drink because we don’t want to endorse that sort of thing. We won’t hang out with homosexuals, because we don’t want to be seen with them. Our excuses are nothing but pompous arrogance. They fill us with pride that we are doing the will of God.
C. Our BLINDNESS
We talked last week about spiritual blindness. Ahaz was blind to God’s will and protection. His blindness was willful. He chose to deliberately walk away from the will of God. His willful blindness exasperated God. God was angry about the fact that Ahaz turned his back.
Our blindness is often willful. We choose to reject God. We decide to not to see God. We can try to blind ourselves my saying “Happy Holidays” or “Seasons Greetings” instead of “Merry Christmas.”
2. God’s SIGN
Ahaz refused to ask for a sign. God said, “Fine I’ll give you a sign whether you like or not.” God will show us a sign whether we choose to see it or not.
A. God’s HOPE
Had Ahaz put his hope in God, he wouldn’t have had to fear the future. Isaiah told him in verses 15 & 16 that by the time the child knew right from wrong (3-4 years) his enemies would be deserted.
When we have our hope in God, we don’t fear the future. The future isn’t a great big unknown. Jesus said, “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matt. 6:34). Tomorrow will bring its own problems. They will come one way or the other. When our hope is in God, we don’t worry about tomorrow. Whatever trouble we have will not last long in the scope of eternity.
We needn’t fear anything. Our hope is in God. Our hope is in Immanuel (God with us). Paul wrote, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:31).
B. God’s PATIENCE
God grew weary of Ahaz’ attitude. Isaiah asked him, “Is it too little for you to weary men, that you weary my God also?” In other words: You aren’t satisfied with driving me nuts, you have to drive God nuts, too!”
John wrote, “God is love.” Paul wrote, “Love is patient.” God is very patient. He put up with Abraham’s lies, Jacob’s underhandedness, Moses excuses, the Israelites whining in the desert, David’s adultery, Peter’s denials. He puts up with us. It takes an awful lot to get God to the point where he would say he is exasperated with someone.
Ahaz was testing God’s patience by saying he didn’t want to test God. When we don’t trust God, we try his patience. Like when our kids don’t trust us.
C. God’s GIFT