October 29, 2012
A virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.
The truth of Isaiah 7:14 is thrilling as it stands in it solitary dignity and beauty. But an understanding of the context enhances, as a black velvet background a diamond, the many facets and beauty of the verse.
Two kings, one from Israel and one from Syria, Pekah and Rezin, were besieging Ahaz. They were unable as yet to penetrate Jerusalem. Their plan was to capture Jerusalem and set their own king upon the Throne of David. Ahaz was a wicked king. Yet God’s purposes were for the Throne of David to be preserved for David’s Son. The unholy confederacy and the unscriptural counsel were determined to derail God’s purposes.
Enter Isaiah! He first gives assurance to Ahaz and the nation that the plans and plots of the enemy will not succeed. To give assurance, God allows Isaiah to offer Ahaz a “sign” that this will come to pass. In hypocritical humility, Ahaz refused (v 12). But God graciously gives a sign to Ahaz and to the nation.
The lessons of the sign are several. God’s power is superior to the power of the enemy. They could take life; God alone could give life. God’s power was independent of man: a virgin would conceive without any part played by a man. He came into the world without the energy of man; and He was given a place outside of the abode of men.
God’s purposes were more secure than the enemies’ plans. They intended to place the son of Tabeal on the throne (v 6). God had His Son in mind (v 14).
The presence of God was surer than the presence of the foe. They expected the army to be in the city and within the gates. But instead, “Immanuel,” God with us: God would be there.
Some might ask, “But all this was future?” That is the value of the sign. So secure are God’s purposes for His Son, that nothing in the present can frustrate God’s purposes. The promise of a Son springing from Judah was an assurance that the enemy would not triumph. Seven and a half centuries later, a virgin bore a Son and His name was called Immanuel – God was indeed with us. He came right where we were and lived amongst us.
1. Note the different “signs” which accompanied the birth of the Lord Christ: They are in Isaiah 7, Matthew 2, Luke 2. Note how appropriate each is for the book in which it is found.
2. John’s Gospel does not give us the sign of His birth; it does give us a sign, however, at His baptism. Why do you think the Spirit of God does this?
3. “Bible” scholars have argued for years about the true translation of “virgin” in Isaiah 7. Some claim it simply means a maiden. How does the Spirit of God’s commentary on it in Matthew 1 and Luke 1 reduce all these arguments to meaningless dribble?