Advent 2014 – Week 3 Day 5

10 Again the LORD spoke to Ahaz, 11“Ask a sign of the LORD your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven.” 12 But Ahaz said, “I will not ask… 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign, Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” ~ Isaiah 7:10-14
The choice could not have been more clear. Ahaz, King of Judah, had enemies at the door and a Prophet in his face. The terror that the invading armies brought would be the just wrath of God on his sin-soaked kingdom, but the word of God to his trembling heart, spoken by the prophet, was one of deliverance if only he would be “firm in faith”. The sight of the enemy coming over the hill was the visible sign of judgment, pointing him to repentance. But Ahaz could not see it. The word of the prophet was God’s call to trust in Him alone for salvation, but Ahaz could not hear it. Ahaz was a living testimony to the radical fallen condition of man. His life is a picture of where rebellion leads – downward into a never ending, self-destructive spiral. No peace. No security. No hope. It’s in this context, the hopelessness of man’s striving, that the promise of God comes like a blinding light – “the virgin shall conceive” and “shall call his name Immanuel” which means “God with us”. This promise is proclaimed every year in Advent, but do we really see and hear it? At the most basic level, in the simplest of human terms, it means that man is disqualified from being his own hope for reconciliation with God. What we could never do for ourselves, our gracious God promises to do for us. The hope of this promise carried the people of God through centuries of despair and darkness. For us who have seen it realized in Christ and look forward to its final fulfillment in eternity, may this hope give us the courage to love and serve and worship while we wait.