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To best understand the next few chapters, some key information is necessary.
— Ephraim (Israel) – This is the Northern Kingdom of what had become a divided Israel after the reign of King Solomon.
— Judah – This was the Southern Kingdom of the divided kingdom with Jerusalem as the capital.
— Aram – This is another term for Syria.
— Assyria – A super-power that threatened the entire region with its military might.
— Ahaz – The king of the Southern Kingdom (Judah).
— The Problem – Syria and Ephraim (Israel) attempted to force the Southern Kingdom (Judah) into an alliance against Assyria.
— The Setting – Ahaz was checking the water supply into Jerusalem when Isaiah met with him to deliver God’s message.
Is God Active in the World?
The question we will frequently ask over the next chapters is whether God is active in the world or not. God’s activity is not a theory but is tested in the fire of harsh reality.
For Ahaz, the king of the Southern Kingdom (Judah), an immanent war was the testing ground of his faith.
Isaiah writes, “In the days of Ahaz son of Jotham son of Uzziah, king of Judah, King Rezin of Aram and King Pekah son of Remaliah of Israel went up to attack Jerusalem, but could not mount an attack against it.
“When the house of David heard that Aram (Syria) had allied itself with Ephraim (Israel, the Northern Kingdom), the heart of Ahaz and the heart of his people shook as the trees of the forest shake before the wind.” (Isaiah 7.1-2)
The issue that faced Ahaz was truly one of life and death. His people were about to be conquered and become subjects of Syria and Israel. He and his family would probably be put to death.
No wonder their inside condition shook like trees in a fierce wind.
Let’s make this practical. Think of a time when your insides felt like they were being blown by a strong wind. That’s where Ahaz was.
The question is what do you do in times of great stress? Whose direction do you trust?
The Prophet’s Message
God sent Isaiah to give direction to Ahaz.
“Then the Lord said to Isaiah, Go out to meet Ahaz, you and your son Shear-jashub, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool on the highway to the Fuller’s Field” (Isaiah 7.3).
Ahaz was investigating the city’s water supply in preparation for war with the two nations. In the event of a siege, a supply of water was essential.
The name of Isaiah’s son, Shear-jashub means, “a remnant will return”. The sign of the son was that an exile was coming, but that at a later date a remnant would return to the land.
God told Isaiah, “Say to him, ‘Take heed, be quiet, do not fear, and do not let your heart be faint because of these two smoldering stumps of firebrands, because of the fierce anger of Rezin and Aram and the son of Remaliah'” (Isaiah 7.4).
This is a good place to stop and apply this ancient message to our lives.
(1) When an earth-shaking experience comes our way, we need to hear from the Lord.
God graciously sent a prophet to Ahaz to give him direction. A prophet may not come our way, but we have the Holy Spirit, the Bible, and prayer.
I recommend in times of great difficulty that we connect with God in prayer and seek his direction through the Bible. The Holy Spirit is present in our lives to provide direction.
(2) If we follow the words, “Take heed, be quiet, do not fear, and do not let your heart be faint,” they will keep us from making rash decisions in the time of trouble.
In the next section of Isaiah 7, we learn that Ahaz took rash measures and made an alliance with the worst person possible.
I can think of rushed and wrong choices I have made during times of stress. I expect you can too. Let’s follow God’s guidance and wait until we have heard from him before acting.
God’s Plan Announced
The message from God to Ahaz was more than “be calm.” God declared what would happen in the future.
“It shall not stand,
and it shall not come to pass.” (Isaiah 7.7)
Without getting into the details, the attack by Syria and the Northern Kingdom (Ephraim) against Jerusalem never took place. Still, at the time when Isaiah spoke to Ahaz, he didn’t believe the message of the prophet.
The most important word for all of us is found in the last sentence of verse 9.
“If you do not stand firm in faith,
you shall not stand at all.” (Isaiah 7.9).
This sums up the whole issue. The water supply and other plans by Ahaz would not save the nation from its enemies.
The issue of faith is the most important concern of our lives.
Do we believe that God is active in our lives? Do we believe that if we trust God’s direction in all things that life will be better?
Or, do we think that it is up to our energy, effort, and wisdom to make things happen.
The best life possible is lived by following God’s guidance in everyday life.
About This Blog
Rudy Ross is an excellent student of Isaiah. Rudy and I have a video you can see on the Bob Spradling YouTube Chanel.
Rudy will bring a different dimension to Isaiah than what is in my blog. I hope you will check out and enjoy my interviews with him.
I am indebted to a book by Dr. John Oswalt on Isaiah for his insights into this powerful book.
If you have a prayer request, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or private message me on Facebook. The Maywood Baptist prayer team will pray for you.