Summary: Isaiah prophecies about the coming Messiah
The Isaiah Oracles - 1 of 4
The Sign of the Savior
Have you ever read the children’s book called Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst. It’s about a little boy whose day starts out bad and goes downhill from there. He gets gum in his hair, gets his sweater wet in the sink, trips over his skateboard and doesn’t win a prize in his box of cereal, and that’s all before breakfast! He knew it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.
Then he goes to school and his teacher doesn’t like his drawing of an invisible castle, he doesn’t get a dessert in his lunch and his best friend doesn’t want to be his best friend anymore. After school his mom buys him plain white sneakers instead of the ones with red and blue racing stripes, his dentist finds a cavity, there are lima beans for dinner, and he gets soap in his eyes when taking his bath. In frustration, he finally says, "I think I’ll move to Australia."
We can all relate to this book because we’ve all had days like Alexander. Days when nothing works out the way we want it to, or people just dump their issues on us, and by the time we finally collapse into bed at night. . . we’re just plain mad.
Well, the situation in Israel and Judah was at that point. Especially for King Ahaz, the king of Judah. He was in a situation where there was no way out. There were TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAYS staring him in the face.
As we move towards Christmas, we will be looking at the writings of Isaiah, as he lived and wrote during the time of Israel’s exile and the beginning of the end for Judah. During his ministry, which lasted about 40 years, Isaiah wrote many prophecies which we lift up as very important in the Christian world because Isaiah wrote at length about the coming Messiah, Jesus.
Just after Isaiah answered the call of God, he was thrust into the volatile political nightmare that existed for the kingdom of Judah. Remember, Judah was the southern kingdom, split off from what once was a united nation, Israel.
In the first verses of Isaiah 7, we learn that King Ahaz and the people of Judah are in trouble. You see, the king of Israel, Pekah, and the king of Syria, Rezin were marching to destroy Judah.
Verse 2 tells us hoSLIDEw they felt, the hearts of Ahaz and the hearts of his people trembled like trees of a forest shaking in a wind. Talk about feeling pretty discouraged at the situation.
At some point in our lives, all of us will face desperate times. All kinds of circumstances can combine to bring us to the brink, where our options are few and time is running out. And we begin to tremble like the branches of a tree being blown by the wind. In other words, we have no control of our fear. We’re over come by it.
What caused this fear in Ahaz?
1. He was not godly.
Ahaz was likely in his early 20’s when he faced this national crisis. He had a godly father and grandfather, but he didn’t follow their path.
We don’t know why Ahaz went down a different path. Maybe he thought his dad and granddad’s ways were old school and he would bring in a new era. Or maybe Ahaz simply never bought into the God of his fathers. But this much is clear – when Ahaz became king at age 20 (2 Kings 16:2), he was religious; but there was no relationship with God. God seemed to be one option on the buffet table of political expedience.
So when trouble came knocking, Ahaz had no spiritual resources upon which to stand. He hadn’t spent time cultivating a trust in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He hadn’t developed his faith for the test, so he failed and his failure impacted his entire nation. 2 Kings 16 says it all about the reign of Ahaz: he did not do what was right in the eyes of the Lord his God (2 Kings 16:2).
2. He was afraid of attack.
In 734 B.C., Syria and the northern kingdom of Israel joined forces to invade Judah. This alliance was formed because the mighty Assyrian army was destroying all the nations around them. The Assyrians were ruthless and gobbled up city after city as they expanded their kingdom.
Israel, against the counsel of God’s prophets, formed an alliance with Syria in an effort to defend against what they knew was coming. But they weren’t strong enough, so they attacked Judah with the goal of deposing Ahaz and placing their own king on the throne. They had already taken over a quarter million prisoners back to Israel with them. Ahaz is panic-stricken by what looks like the imminent invasion of Syria and Israel.