Friday, January 13, 2017
Daily reading assignment: Isaiah 7-11
Unlike many of our devotionals, today’s reading is more historical in content than practical. Please don’t dismiss this opportunity of putting our reading of the Scriptures in its historical and prophetic context.
Like a portrayal of 21st century America, Israel was morally and spiritually bankrupt in Isaiah’s day; her leaders void of integrity (Isaiah 3:2-3), her rulers weak and inexperienced (Isaiah 3:4), her women forsaking their role as mothers and nurturers (Isaiah 3:16), usurped the role of men in the land (Isaiah 3:12). Such a nation invites the judgment of God and Israel was on the path to self-destruction.
Israel was already divided, the ten rebellious tribes in the north became known as Israel and the two tribes in the south as Judah or Ephraim. Isaiah 7 sets the stage for a Civil War between the two nations, the northern tribes allying themselves with the nation of Syria (2 Kings 16:5-6). With the city of Jerusalem under siege, the king of Judah, rather than trust God, allied himself with the king of Assyria (2 Kings 16:7-9).
It was in such an hour that God sent His prophet Elijah to quiet the hearts of Judah (Isaiah 7:3-4) and call on the nation to trust the LORD. Desiring the king to prove the LORD and put his trust in Him, King Ahaz was asked to request a miraculous sign of God. Unwilling to trust the LORD or request a sign (7:12), God gave a sign to Ahaz for all Israel to know the Messiah when He comes.
Isaiah 7:14 – Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
The prophetic sign of the Messiah’s coming would be His miraculous conception and divine incarnation (Isaiah 7:14). Of His conception we read, “a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son”…a son conceived without the seed of man by a virgin who had never known a man (Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-37). The name of this son born of a virgin would be “Immanuel”, meaning “God with us” (Matthew 1:23).
Isaiah 7:17-25 is a prophecy that the armies of the king of Assyria with whom Judah had sought alliance would come against God’s people and lay the land waste. Isaiah 8 warns that Assyria would turn her armies against Israel and Syria and the people would be taken captive out of the land. The northern ten tribes, known as Israel, would never return to the land and only a remnant of the Jews taken captive out of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, would return to the land after the Babylonian captivity (Isaiah 10:20-22; 11:11-12, 16).
Renewing the prophecy of a coming Messiah, Isaiah prophesied the son who would be born of the virgin would be like no other.
Isaiah 9:6 – For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful [Marvelous; Extraordinary], Counsellor [God of all wisdom], The mighty God [all powerful; Omnipotent], The everlasting Father [Father of all Eternity], The Prince of Peace [source, the fount of lasting peace].”
The birth of Jesus Christ fulfilled only the first phrase of Isaiah 9:6; however, the Jews’ rejection of Christ, His crucifixion, death and resurrection leaves the balance of that prophecy yet to be fulfilled at Christ’s Second Coming (Isaiah 9:6-7).
Finally, the coming Messiah would be born of the lineage of King David, a royal son and rightful heir to the throne of Israel (Isaiah 11:1). He would be a man upon Whom the Spirit of the LORD would rest; endowed with wisdom and understanding only God could impart (Isaiah 11:2).
Isaiah 11:1-2 – “And there shall come forth a rod [shoot] out of the stem [stock] of Jesse (father of King David), and a Branch [descendant] shall grow out of his roots: 2 And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;”
Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith