The year 2020 was a tough year, and 2021 started with a spike in COVID deaths and tumult at the capitol. All this and more has perhaps left us with shaken hearts. That’s where Ahaz found himself in Isaiah 7, and the message Isaiah brought him applies to us as well.
Ahaz and the nation of Israel were threatened by impending attack from Syria and Judah. Ahaz was “shaking in his boots,” but God said through Isaiah, “Be careful, keep calm and do not be afraid. Do not lose heart because of these two smoldering stubs …” (v. 4). He was basically telling him: don’t worry about the little stuff—the things you are afraid of will resolve themselves. And they did—the impending attack never happened and within two years Rezin and Pekah (kings of Syria and Judah) were dead. The “little stuff” seemed very big to Ahaz at the time, but to God it was a small problem. We need to remember that the issues which seem so huge to us are actually “little stuff” to God.
Second, God told Ahaz to stand firm in his faith. He stated it in the negative: “If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all” (v. 9b). Ahaz was an evil king and did not heed God’s warning, as we will see. Let us who are God’s people make sure that we do stand firm in our faith.
The third part of God’s message through Isaiah to Ahaz was to receive what God had to offer. God offered Ahaz a sign that the promised deliverance would happen, but Ahaz did not want it (v.12-16). God gave him the sign anyway: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel … before he knows enough to reject the wrong or choose the right, the land of the two kings you dread will be laid waste” (v. 14-16). The prophecy had both a near and a far (future) fulfillment. The far one we are familiar with as it fulfilled in the birth of Christ. But the context required a near fulfillment also because it pertained to what would happen within a few years. The Hebrew word translated “virgin” is broad enough to mean either a virgin or a young woman of marriageable age. The latter meaning applied to the near fulfillment. The details are a bit complex, but the bottom line is that a child would soon be born and before he would be old enough to know the right from the wrong—that is, within just a few years, the two dreaded kings would be laid waste. As already mentioned, that did take place.
But Ahaz refused to receive comfort and hope from the sign because he was not trusting in the Lord. Instead he continued to tremble with fear. When we are at a spot where our hearts are shaken, we need to receive what God has to offer. If He offers a sign, take it. If He brings an encouraging word, take it to heart. If He offers a glimmer of hope, lay hold of it. Receive what God has to offer.
The final part of God’s message to Ahaz was: If you seek help from the wrong place, it will come back to bite you (v. 17-25). Ahaz didn’t trust in God but looked for help from the King of Assyria. In fact, God did use the king of Assyria to bring about the defeat of those other two kings. But because Ahaz trusted in Assyria instead of in God, the deliverance came at a cost. Israel became subservient to Assyria. The king of Assyria humiliated them, shaving their beards and taking the best from their land.
What is God’s message for shaken hearts? Don’t worry about the little stuff. Stand firm in your faith. Receive what God has to offer. Don’t put your trust in the wrong place, or it will come back to bite you.