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. Isaiah 7:14 NKJV
The Lord gave this message to the prophet Isaiah to pass along to Judah’s King Ahaz, grandson of the late king, Uzziah.
It was a pretty interesting time and place for God to give this unique prophecy. It is one of the most important ones in the Old Testament, telling us that God would become man and be born of a virgin. But the context for it was an exchange between Isaiah and a mostly faithless king.
King Ahaz had stooped lower than most of the Kings of Judah before him. He did worship the Lord half-heartedly at times. But mostly he followed after the despicable and idolatrous practices of the Baal worshipers of the Northern Kingdom, doing things that the most hard-hearted person of today would not even think of doing. By giving him this message, God was likely saying something like, “This kingly line is not living up to its heavenly responsibilities, so I will take care of it myself.”
“Immanuel” means “God with us”. So not only will a child be born of a virgin as a sign from the Lord, but He will also be God in our midst, a God with skin that we can reach out and touch. The prophecy was fulfilled many centuries later when Jesus Christ was born of Mary through the power of the Holy Spirit, though she was still a virgin.
This was all a part of a message of comfort that the Lord brought to Judah. It came during an event that had Judah shaking like a tree in a windstorm – an invasion from the north that threatened its very existence.
One Saturday morning over twenty years ago, I also received a message from the Lord while reading this section.
I, too, was feeling upset and threatened by a situation beyond my control. There were things going on in my workplace that caused me to feel very vulnerable and afraid. Threats of harmful action by strong outside powers shook me in my heart and I felt absolutely powerless to stop it.
Then, I read this verse that Isaiah had spoken to a trembling King Ahaz about his impending crisis. In doing so, God spoke to my heart, as well.
5 Because Syria, Ephraim, and the son of Remaliah have plotted evil against you, saying, 6 “Let us go up against Judah and trouble it, and let us make a gap in its wall for ourselves, and set a king over them, the son of Tabel”— 7 thus says the Lord God:
“It shall not stand,
Nor shall it come to pass. Isaiah 7:5-7 NKJV
When I read this verse, something in my heart rang out “It shall not stand, nor shall it come to pass!” I was filled with an overwhelming sense of relief and joy. Through my tears, I could not help but laugh long and hard as the grip of fear left and my heart was filled with a deep sense of peace. Victory was declared at that moment, and the threat seemed to instantly evaporate.
In fact, the threat did evaporate. From that moment on, I never heard another word about it – it never did not come to pass.
Isaiah spoke of a coming Messiah that is bigger than anything that can come against us. Nothing is too hard for God.
Lord, thank You for watching over and protecting us from our outside enemies and even from those enemies within us. Help us to live more like Jesus each day, with love and patience for others and a gift of faith to prevail over all the challenges we face in our life journey. Fill us with Your love, compassion and a forgiving heart. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.