Scripture reading – Isaiah 7

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Our study of Isaiah 7 is part 2 of today’s Bible devotional and may be the first time some have studied Isaiah 7:14 in its context. The beloved promise of a sign to Judah, a miracle that only God could give, read: “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14).

Consider the historical context of that sign and its fulfillment seen in the coming of the virgin-born Messiah, Jesus Christ.

 

Isaiah 7 – The King is Coming

 

Many years passed from the death of Uzziah (Isaiah 6:1) to the reign of his grandson Ahaz, the son of Jotham (7:1; 2 Kings 15:32-34; 2 Kings 16:1). Two kings were named as contemporaries of Ahaz and conspired to invade and war with Judah. We read that “Rezin the king of Syria, and Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, went up toward Jerusalem to war against it, but could not prevail against it” (Isaiah 7:1).

Historical Context of the Prophecy of the Virgin Birth

Historical Context of the Prophecy of the Virgin Birth (Isaiah 7:1-13)

 

King Ahaz and all Judah were terrified by the coalition of nations aligned against them (Isaiah 7:2). We read that “Syria is confederate with Ephraim” (Ephraim being another name for northern Israel, 7:2).

The LORD, ever compassionate, commanded Isaiah to go with his firstborn son, Shear-jashub, and meet King Ahaz (Isaiah 7:3). The prophet’s mission was to deliver good news to the king and encourage him, saying, “Take heed, and be quiet; Fear not, neither be fainthearted for the two tails of these smoking firebrands, For the fierce anger of Rezin with Syria, and of the son of Remaliah” (Isaiah 7:4).

 

Isaiah Revealed to King Ahaz four truths concerning Judah’s enemies (Isaiah 7:4-9)

The kings of Syria and Ephraim (Israel) were contemptible to the LORD, and nothing more than firewood in His sight (Isaiah 7:4). Rezin and Remaliah had “taken evil counsel” against King Ahaz and Judah. They plotted to divide Judah between them and set a puppet king upon the throne of David (Isaiah 7:5-6).

Nevertheless, Ahaz was told the confederacy between Syria and Israel would fail (Isaiah 7:7), and in 65 years, Israel would be destroyed and the people taken into captivity (Isaiah 7:8). Isaiah warned King Ahaz, “If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established” (Isaiah 7:9).

 

The Offer of an Assuring Sign (7:10-12)

 Understanding Ahaz was not a man of faith, the LORD offered the king a miraculous sign and assured him all would come to pass as He had promised (Isaiah 7:10-11). Foolish Ahaz, however, refused to ask for a sign and sought an alliance with the king of Assyria (Isaiah 7:12; 2 Kings 16:7-8; 2 Chronicles 28:24).

 

A Prophetic Miraculous Sign (Isaiah 7:13-14)

 

Ahaz rejected the LORD and turned to his own devices to overcome Israel and Syria. Therefore, God warned the king of Judah, “Hear ye now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also?” (Isaiah 7:13)

Because he refused to trust the LORD, Ahaz was told that God would give His people a miraculous sign, and said, “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14).

Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel”

The Forewarning of God’s Judgment on Israel and Judah (Isaiah 7:15-25)

 

The fulfillment of the sign of a virgin birth Son named Immanuel was not imminent (in fact, seven centuries would pass). The text, however, continued with the prophecy of another son whose name would be a testimony of a time of poverty to come. Ahaz was told the people’s diet would be “butter and honey” (the food of the impoverished, Isaiah 7:15).

Who was this second son whose birth foretold the judgment of God that would fall on Israel? Isaiah 8:1-3 revealed his name would be Maher-shalal-hash-baz, the second-born son of Isaiah.

King Ahaz foolishly established an accord with Assyria to war against Israel and Syria. The LORD, however, warned that Assyria would not only destroy Israel, but He would use the Assyrians to punish Judah (Isaiah 7:17-25).

Assyria would trouble Judah like the swarms of Egyptian flies and the stinging bees of Assyria (Isaiah 7:17-18). Judah would be disgraced (Isaiah 7:19-20) and impoverished (Isaiah 7:21-25). To illustrate the poverty that would befall Judah, Isaiah declared the farmers would struggle with one milk cow and two sheep (Isaiah 7:21-22), and the land would become overgrown with briars and thorns (Isaiah 7:23-25).

Questions to ponder –

  1. What nations formed a confederacy against Judah and King Ahaz? (Isaiah 7:1)
  2. What did the LORD promise King Ahaz would happen to the confederacy of Judah’s enemies? (Isaiah 7:7)
  3. What did the LORD ask Ahaz to do for reassurance that the confederacy of Judah’s enemies would fail? (Isaiah 7:11)
  4. What sign did the LORD give Ahaz? (Isaiah 7:14)

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith 

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