Tuesday, December 1, 2009

First Week of Advent, Day Three

Week 1 Day 3: Isaiah 7:10-14

Later, the Lord sent this message to King Ahaz: “Ask the Lord your God for a sign of confirmation, Ahaz. Make it as difficult as you want—as high as heaven or as deep as the place of the dead.”
But the king refused. “No,” he said, “I will not test the Lord like that.”
Then Isaiah said, “Listen well, you royal family of David! Isn’t it enough to exhaust human patience? Must you exhaust the patience of my God as well? All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’).

What if God made this offer to you? What would you ask God to show you? Think about it. This would be a golden opportunity to relieve any doubt and maybe even convince others.

Why do you think Ahaz didn’t want a sign from God? Others, like Gideon, had tested God and received a sign. God made the offer to Ahaz, yet Ahaz didn’t want it. Why?

In 2 Chronicles 28, Ahaz was punished because “he had encouraged his people to sin and had been utterly unfaithful to the Lord” (2 Chronicles 28:19). The truth of God conflicted with Ahaz’s beliefs and practices. If God gave Ahaz inconvertible evidence, then Ahaz would have to deal with what he had chosen to ignore.

What did God do? God gave Ahaz a sign anyway. This sign, in fact, was a double prophecy. A child was born in the royal family as a sign to Ahaz during his lifetime (Isaiah 8:3-4), and of course, the more significant fulfillment was in the birth of Jesus. Despite Ahaz’s wickedness, God didn’t give up on Ahaz. And, despite our wickedness, God doesn’t give up on us. He sent Immanuel, “God with us.”

No matter who you are. No matter what you have ever done. As long as there is breath in your body, God wants you to let Him love you.

Copyright © 2009 by Allen White

All Scripture quotations taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation. Copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

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