Summary: 3rd of 3 in the Advent Series "The Prophets Fortold." Examines the prophetic significance of the Virgin Birth.
The Virgin Shall Concieve
Back in 1961, Redbook magazine polled theological students from 8 different seminaries. And one of the questions they asked them was "Do you believe in the virgin birth of Jesus Christ?" And 56% of the ministerial students said ’No. We DON’T believe in the virgin birth." That is an astounding statistic. And what’s amazing about it is that these are the ministers who have been filling the pulpits of America for the past 40 years! I just want to reassure you right now that I support the minority position!
The part of Isaiah we’re going to look at today is precious for Christians. Because this is the part of the Bible that gives us the prophecy of the virgin birth of the Lord Jesus Christ! Isaiah 7:14 says that "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."
The first thing I want you to notice this morning is the historical occasion of this sign. Christians didn’t come up with the idea of the virgin birth out of the blue. This great prophecy arose out of a terribly difficult time in Jewish history. Verse one tells us that King Rezin of Aram and King Pekah of Israel were attacking Jerusalem, the capital city of Judah. They weren’t able to take it over. But they were causing a lot of problems for the people of Judah.
There are two things we need to keep in mind at this point: Number one, the Jewish people weren’t following the Lord very closely during this time in their history. 2 Chronicles 28:6 says that "Judah had forsaken the Lord, the God of their fathers." And once you have rejected the One Person in the whole universe who could possibly help you, where else can you turn? And furthermore, Ahaz was one of the most wicked kings the country ever had! 2 Chronicles 28 says that he made idols to worship Baal. He burned incense at the high places to all the false gods. And he even sacrificed his own sons as burnt offerings. He was a terrible man!
And not only that, you have to understand that Judah has already suffered back to back military setbacks. In 2 Chronicles 28:5 we learn that Judah lost a costly war at the hands of the king of Aram. And in 2 Chronicles 28:5-6, we’re told that Judah suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of Israel. In fact, verse six says that in one day, the king of Israel killed 120,000 soldiers in Judah! In one day! 120,000!!! That’s a lot of people! Especially considering that back then, all they had for weapons were arrows and swords and clubs and shields. They didn’t have any of the hi tech weapons that we have today.
And then, we’re told in Isaiah 7:2 that when the house of David found out that Aram and Ephraim had united together to attack them, "the hearts of Ahaz and his people were shaken, as the trees of the forest are shaken by the wind." In other words, they were scared out of their sandals. They thought, "We are in big trouble now. We couldn’t beat these two countries individually, and now they’ve together! We don’t have a chance! We’re dead!" It didn’t seem like there was any way out!
Then in Isaiah 7:3, God in his mercy decides to extend to the Judean people a ray of hope. The Lord tells Isaiah, "Take your son to meet Ahaz at the end of the aqueduct of the Upper Pool, on the road to the Washerman’s Field." At that time, that’s where the city’s water supply was. And Ahaz was probably checking it out to make sure that there was enough water for the people just in case the invading armies cut off the water supply from the outside. And in verse four, Isaiah tells Ahaz, "Be careful. Keep calm. And don’t be afraid."
And I’ll bet Ahaz said, "Keep calm? Don’t be afraid? What are you talking about, Isaiah? Can’t you see that we’re under attack? Don’t you know that these are the same two countries that annihilated us last year? How can you stand there so piously and say, ’Keep calm, don’t be afraid?’ Of course I’m afraid! I’m terrified!"
Ahaz was scared because he didn’t have a personal relationship with God. I’ve ministered at the bedside of both Christians and non Christians. I find that it is easier to minister to the people of faith.
And later in verse five, Isaiah says to Ahaz, "Do not lose heart because of these two smoldering stubs of firewood. They are just a couple of burned out stubs of wood. Don’t worry about them. They can’t hurt you anymore."