A Sure Sign

Read Isaiah 7-8

"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."Isaiah 7:14

These were perilous days for the nation of Judah. Assyria was growing stronger and threatening the smaller nations whose security depended on a very delicate political balance. Syria and Ephraim (the northern kingdom) tried to pressure Judah into an alliance against Assyria, but Ahaz, king of Judah, refused to join them. Why? Because he had secretly made a treaty with Assyria! (See 2 Kings 16:5-9.)

If Ahaz had believed God's promise, he would have broken his alliance and called the nation to prayer and praise; but the king continued in his unbelief. Realizing the weakness of the king's faith, Isaiah offered to give a sign to encourage him. But knowing that he was secretly allied with Assyria, how could Ahaz honestly ask the Lord for a special sign? So, instead of speaking only to the king, Isaiah addressed the whole "house of David" and gave the prophecy concerning "Immanuel."

Of course, the ultimate fulfillment of this prophecy is in our Lord Jesus Christ, who is "God with us," which is what "Immanuel" means. The virgin birth of Christ is a key doctrine; for if Jesus Christ is not God come in sinless human flesh, then we have no Savior. However, this "sign" had an immediate significance to Ahaz and the people of Judah. A woman who was then a virgin would get married, conceive, and bear a son whose name would be "Immanuel." This son would be a reminder that God was with His people and would care for them. It is likely that this virgin was Isaiah's second wife, his first wife having died after his first son was born; and that Isaiah's second son was named both "Immanuel" and "Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz" (meaning "quick to plunder, swift to the spoil") (see Isa. 8:1, 3).

Applying God's Truth:

1.      Do you identify with any of the weaknesses of King Ahaz? In what ways?

2.      What changes might you make in your life if you more fully believed God's promise(s)?

3.      What are some clear "signs" that God is active in your life?

Devotions for Comfort and Hope©2005 by Dr. Warren Wiersbe. Used by permission of David C Cook. May not be further reproduced. All rights reserved.

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