Isaiah: The Background to a Messianic Prophecy, Part 2.

“In the days of Ahaz the son of Jotham, son of Uzziah, king of Judah, Rezin the king of Syria and Pekah the son of Remaliah the king of Israel came up to Jerusalem to wage war against it, but could not yet mount an attack against it. When the house of David was told, “Syria is in league with Ephraim,” the heart of Ahaz and the heart of his people shook as the trees of the forest shake before the wind.

And the Lord said to Isaiah, “Go out to meet Ahaz, you and Shear-jashub your son, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool on the highway to the Washer’s Field. And say to him, ‘Be careful, be quiet, do not fear, and do not let your heart be faint because of these two smoldering stumps of firebrands, at the fierce anger of Rezin and Syria and the son of Remaliah. Because Syria, with Ephraim and the son of Remaliah, has devised evil against you, saying, “Let us go up against Judah and terrify it, and let us conquer it for ourselves, and set up the son of Tabeel as king in the midst of it,” thus says the Lord God: “‘It shall not stand, and it shall not come to pass. For the head of Syria is Damascus, and the head of Damascus is Rezin. And within sixty-five years Ephraim will be shattered from being a people. And the head of Ephraim is Samaria, and the head of Samaria is the son of Remaliah. If you are not firm in faith, you will not be firm at all.’ ”

 When we face extraordinary circumstances, be they economical, relational, political or ecclesiastical, we may often respond with fear and trembling. While it is biblically appropriate to respond in such a way to the LORD, it is not appropriate when facing difficult and extreme circumstances.

Such was the case with Judah’s King Ahaz. He was fearful and faint hearted about what Israel’s and Syria’s kings were planning to do against Jerusalem. Instead of being strong and courageous (Joshua 1:1-9), he was scared.

It was at this moment that God sent Isaiah, along with his son Shear-jashub, to tell Ahaz to be careful, to be quiet, to not fear and to not be faint hearted. The LORD’s oracle contained two positives and two negatives.

To be careful was a command to guard oneself and to heed. This command was intended to warn Ahaz to not make any aid from Assyria while in a condition of panic.

To be quiet was a command to be undisturbed and relieved in Ahaz’ mind, emotions and will. In other words, to be still and know that Yahweh was in control (Psalm 46:10).

To not fear was a command to not be frightened by the circumstances of life. How often do we need for God to remind us of this.

Finally, to not be faint hearted was a command to not be weak in the inner man. The LORD commanded Ahaz to not be weak in what he thought, what he felt and what he chose to do.

The LORD had every intention of intervening in the situation. He was actively involved in the lives of His people in the past, and remains so in the present and the future. In fact, the very presence of Isaiah’s son, Shear-jashub, was to assure the king of this. How? Because Shear-jashub means a remnant shall return (Isaiah 6:13). Isaiah’s son was a standing memorial to Ahaz and the Jews that the nation should not, notwithstanding the general calamity (Isaiah 7:17–25; 8:6–8), be utterly destroyed (10:21, 22).

In fact, God informed Ahaz that his enemies would be judged. In fact, the Tribe of Ephraim represented all ten of the northern tribes of Israel. Isaiah predicted their coming destruction because of their idolatry (Hosea 4:17). In 65 years they would cease to be a people, first through the captivity of most of them in 722 B.C. (2 Kings 17:6) and then with the importation of foreign settlers into the land in c. 670 B.C. (2 Kings 17:242 Chronicles 33:11Ezra 4:2).

Finally, Isaiah informed King Ahaz that “If you are not firm in faith, you will not be firm at all.” What the LORD commanded Ahaz was to remember to trust in, commit to, to depend upon and worship only the LORD. The king, or any other believer, was to not place their faith in any other object economically, politically, relationally or ecclesiastically.

What was true for Ahaz is true for believers in Christ today.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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