Summary: • When we face the darkness that accompanies life, we place our trust in God’s miraculous power in times of trouble and doubt. God gives us hope for the future (Eternal life through His Son Jesus, He also gives us hope for today, Emmanuel, God with us!
• SLIDE #1
• There have always been reasons to be fearful and to lose hope in the world.
• Life can get chaotic and stressful at times. Sometimes those stresses are magnified during the Christmas season.
• There is so much stuff swirling around us that, at times, we can lose hope and start to place our trust in places where we should know better.
• We all need something to grasp onto so that we can stay hopeful, joyful, and faithful.
• God did something for us to help us to strengthen our hope, joy, and faith!
• Jesus’s birth is a powerful display of God’s faithfulness to bring peace, hope, healing, and life to a lost and dying world.
• Today we will begin a new four-week series that explores the Christmas story by examining the relationship between the book of Isaiah and the purpose and work of Christ in the New Testament.
• Because of Jesus, we can experience the joy that comes through his finished work.
• The series ‘Unto Us’ will be a powerful tool for helping us to understand and apply the nativity story into the fabric of our lives.
• For information sake, you need to know that the book of Isaiah was written over 700 years before Jesus was born.
• When you keep that thought in the back of your mind as you read the book of Isaiah, the prophecies contained within the book are staggering. As a matter of fact, they are so staggering that a significant number of liberal scholars do not believe it is possible the book was written 740 years before Jesus.
• I want to set up the context of the part of the passage we are going to place our focus today. The main focus will be on Isaiah 7:10-17, but I want to dig into verses 1-9 before we hit that, so you have some background.
• We open Isaiah 7 to a crisis for the kingdom of Judah.
• The Hebrew people were split into two different kingdoms after the death of Solomon: Israel to the north and Judah to the South.
• Both kingdoms struggled to stay faithful to God, and eventually, both were exiled. The Northern kingdom was less successful in remaining faithful to God than the South.
• All 19 kings that reigned during the 209-year life of the Northern Kingdom were evil. In the 344 years of the Southern Kingdom, you had a mixed bag.
• Isaiah 7 shows the kingdom of Israel and Aram, trying to invade Jerusalem, the capital of Judah. This took place around 735 B.C.
• King Ahaz of Judah is nervous about the thought of invasion. Scripture says that the “hearts of Ahaz and his people were shaken, as the trees of the forest are shaken by the wind” (v. 2).
• It is at this point that God instructs Isaiah to go to Ahaz and tell him, “Be careful, keep calm and don’t be afraid” (v. 4). Speaking of the invasion, God says, “it will not take place, it will not happen” (v. 7).
• King Ahaz was so afraid that he decided to make an alliance with Assyrian King, Tiglath-Pileser (2 Kings 16:7).
• As Isaiah 7:2 says, the people were terrified, so King Ahaz thought It was best for the country as well as HIS throne to align themselves with Assyria.
• By the way, in 722 BC, the Northern Kingdom fell to Assyria.
• So, God sends Isaiah to King Ahaz to try to talk some sense to him.
• In verses 4-9, Isaiah told King Ahaz not to sweat it, that Israel and Syria would not harm them.
• In verse 4, God tells Isaiah to tell the king concerning the Kings of Israel and Syria:
• Isaiah 7:4 (CSB) — 4 Say to him: Calm down and be quiet. Don’t be afraid or cowardly because of these two smoldering sticks…
• The nation was in the midst of dark times because of a lack of faith as well as rebellion.
• However, God would bring a miraculous sign of his faithfulness through a virgin birth that would heal a dark world.
• That sets us up for what we will examine in verses 10-17.
• Let’s begin with verses 10-12.
• After all the encouragement that God offers King Ahaz, God through Isaiah makes Him a great offer!
• SLIDE #2
• Isaiah 7:10–12 (CSB) — 10 Then the LORD spoke again to Ahaz: 11 “Ask for a sign from the LORD your God—it can be as deep as Sheol or as high as heaven.” 12 But Ahaz replied, “I will not ask. I will not test the LORD.”
• SLIDE #3
I. A plea to trust God.