Verse of the Day Devotion: Isaiah 7:14
“Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.” – Isaiah 7:14
As Christmas 2020 approaches, I want to take the remainder of this week as well as next week to look at some of the prophecies found in the Old Testament that declare the coming of the Messiah, Jesus. This has been a most difficult year what with the Covid-19 pandemic and all that happened as a result. However, we must always remember that nothing surprises God, and He has been with us the whole time. As Joshua declared to Israel which pertains to us as well, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9.
Today, we will look at Isaiah 7:14 regarding the prophecy of Jesus, this being our focus verse. “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14. To understand this, it is important to look at what was transpiring at this time. Ahaz, king of Judah and the royal family were very nervous because they received word that Rezin, king of Syria and Pekah, king of Israel were looking to invade Judah. This was actually set up by God at the end of Jotham’s reign over Judah as we see here, “In those days the LORD began to send Rezin king of Aram and Pekah the son of Remaliah against Judah. And Jotham slept with his fathers, and he was buried with his fathers in the city of David his father; and Ahaz his son became king in his place.” 2 Kings 15:37-38. This was meant as a form of correction, but Judah would not be destroyed.
The Lord sent Isaiah to Ahaz and told Isaiah what to tell him which was, “Take care and be calm, have no fear and do not be fainthearted because of these two stubs of smoldering firebrands, on account of the fierce anger of Rezin and Aram and the son of Remaliah. Because Aram, with Ephraim and the son of Remaliah, has planned evil against you, saying, Let us go up against Judah and terrorize it, and make for ourselves a breach in its walls and set up the son of Tabeel as king in the midst of it, Let us go up against Judah and terrorize it, and make for ourselves a breach in its walls and set up the son of Tabeel as king in the midst of it,” Isaiah 7:4-7. Unfortunately, he did not believe that Jerusalem would be safe, so God told Ahaz to ask for a sign that would convince him.
However, he would not ask for a sign. Then God, through Isaiah, told him, “Listen now, O house of David! Is it too slight a thing for you to try the patience of men, that you will try the patience of my God as well? Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.“ Isaiah 7:13-14. He starts off by asking Ahaz was it not enough to try the patience of men, so you will try the patience of God too?. So God will give you a sign anyway. The sign is that a child will be born from a virgin, and He will be called Immanuel. So, how is this a sign of their protection from the kings of Syria and Israel? God was intonating that this would occur in Jerusalem in the future. This child’s birth shows the preservation of that city, nation and tribe in which this one called Immanuel would be born would not be destroyed, therefore they had no reason to fear.
The name Immanuel is critically important in this sign, for Immanuel means “God with us” or “God is with us.”. This sign was a prophetic message to Ahaz that would be fulfilled some 700 years later, where a virgin from Nazareth named Mary, who was engaged to a man named Joseph, became pregnant via the Holy Spirit. An angel told this to Joseph when he learned she was pregnant and was looking for a means to send her away without shaming her. “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:20b-21. This name Jesus is derived from the Hebrew name Joshua meaning ‘to save’. Then Matthew states this is the fulfilment of the prophecy to Ahaz. “Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.” Matthew 1:22-23.
God originally gave this prophecy to Ahaz as a sign He would not allow the tribe of Judah to be destroyed. It was later used to convince Joseph not to send Mary away because she became pregnant while they were engaged, thus before they were married. It was proof of the deity of this child who was the promised Messiah who would die as the means to pay the penalty for all who would accept Christ as Lord of their life. We, as Christians, are the new Jerusalem. And just as God promised to Ahaz the protection of Judah, where Jerusalem is located, so does He also promise protection for the New Jerusalem which will be our eternal home. So, be at peace regarding all that is going on in our world today, because just as this was a sign of the protection of Judah, so is it a sign of our protection as well.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.