ANCHORED IN GOD
ISAIAH 7:10-17; MATTHEW 1:18-25
The focus of today’s devotional is going to be based on a decision that you will have to make. Where will you put your trust in? This question is presented to us daily and we will either choose God or choose people, addictions, money, things, and even ourselves! To understand the full impact of the passage we must actually spend more time in the Isaiah passage to help shed light to the passage in Matthew.
The Isaiah passage is confusing at first because we enter into the story mid-conversation but to help us understand what is going on here we must look at the background from previous chapters/history.
Israel has been split up into two nations of the northern kingdom known as Israel, which is made up of ten tribes while the southern kingdom of Judah is made up of two. The southern kingdom is threatened by two invading nations of Israel and Syria, which leaves King Ahaz to make a decision of either trusting in Assyria to help or God Himself.
In 7:1-9, God encourages Ahaz through Isaiah that he should trust in the LORD to bring deliverance and that if he failed to choose God but rather Assyria, that a bigger judgement will come upon the people that will make the present two threats seem like a joke. God exhorts him with an encouragement that is also a nice memory verse for us today, “If you are not firm in faith, you will not be firm at all.”
Now unto today’s passage
11 “Ask a sign of the Lord your[a] God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven.” 12 But Ahaz said, “I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test.”
The Lord asks Ahaz to ask him for a sign but Ahaz refuses! Ahaz rejected a direct commandment from God and tried to justify it with a religious answer. Jesus during the temptations quoted scripture saying that we shouldn’t test the LORD but this was not the case for Ahaz for God told him to ask him! When the LORD asks you to do something you do it! A lot of the commandments in the Bible are treated like suggestions and we wonder why we don’t see the move of God in our lives! Ahaz made the first mistake of not obeying God and if anything he did put God to test through his disobedience.
Take away: Obedience is key! Obedience to God’s word is always the first step!
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.[c] 15 He shall eat curds and honey when he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good. 16 For before the boy knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land whose two kings you dread will be deserted.
The LORD gives a sign of a young lady that will give birth to boy that will be named Immanuel. Now if you look at the Matthew passage, you will see that the name Immanuel means, “God with us.” The existence of this boy is symbolic sign to the King who rejected God to choose the help of the Assyrians. There are a couple of things that the boy does that highlight the failure of King Ahaz through the following:
The boys diet.
The boys action.
Take away: Trust in God when you can’t see God for God will one day reveal where he was through it all!
17 The Lord will bring upon you and upon your people and upon your father's house such days as have not come since the day that Ephraim departed from Judah—the king of Assyria!”
The two opponents that come against Judah fell in 732 B.C (Syria) and 722 B.C. (Samaria/Israel). What also happens later is that Judah is faced with a bigger threat of Assyria!
Take away: The thing we trust in apart from the LORD will actually be the source of our undoing.
19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call his name Immanuel”
(which means, God with us). 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife,
Now we see that the final form of Immanuel has come through Jesus Christ! Let’s take a moment to realize how crazy of a news Joseph received from God! God is telling him that his wife is pregnant not because she was sleeping around but because she has been pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit! This takes a lot of faith here. But unlike King Ahaz, we see Joseph lean upon God in the midst of not fully understanding and shows that trust through obedience! He marries Mary and raises up Jesus who will become the savior of the world!
Take away: Your faith that leads to obedience may benefit people beyond you.