Passage: Isaiah 7:1-17

Speaker: Mitch Kim

Series: Come, Lord Jesus

Longing For Deliverance

            We long for deliverance. We face enemies that feel impossible to overcome— a microscopic virus that has shut the world down, sharp disagreements that divide nation, community, church, and family, and illnesses that linger far too long. Sometimes, though, our longing for deliverance is dulled by our plans for deliverance; our hearts are so clogged with our own ideas that we fail to pray for a deliverance that only God can bring. This is the case for Ahaz in Isaiah 7; his hearts shakes “as the trees of the forest shake before the wind” (7:2). Yet  he is called to stand firm in faith by hearing God’s Word and trust in His sign, a child to be born named Immanuel. Similarly in this pandemic, may we not faint in fear but stand firm in faith and hold to God’s sign, Immanuel.

            First, may we not faint in fear (Isa 7:1–4). We see clearly the fear of Ahaz before the armies of Syria and Israel (7:1–2), growing faint “because of these two smoldering stumps of firebrands” (7:4). Sometimes what seems like raging fires are simply smoldering stumps; the situations that terrify are actually burning out. Yet fear is contagious. So the LORD speaks, “Be careful, be quiet, do not fear, and do not let your hearts be faint” (7:4). We give power to what we meditate on. When we get obsessed with what we fear, then we give power to what we fear.

            In the face of fear we must stand firm in faith (isa 7:5–9). Despite plans to destroy God’s people (7:5–6), the LORD God himself speaks (7:7). This always is the key to faith — what God says. Against the schemes and plans of people, our faith finds foundation in the plans and purposes of God (7:7–9a). Indeed, “if you are not firm in faith, you will not be firm at all” (7:9). We must stand firm in faith and ground our hearts in God’s Word and his purposes, or our hearts will waver before the challenges before us.

            Finally we must hold to God’s sign, Immanuel (Isa 7:10–17). Signs are, in themselves, insignificant; their importance is in what they point to. Here the sign itself is a young woman or virgin giving birth to a child (7:14). Yet its importance reminds us that Immanuel, God with us, would bring deliverance from powerful enemies (7:15–17). This sign is not only in Isaiah’s day (Isa 8:3–4) but also points forward, of course, to the virgin Mary giving birth to a child, born in a manger. Even when the sign seems insignificant, it points to God’s great power for deliverance in surprising ways. Yet we must hold to God’s sign, Immanuel, until we see the power of his deliverance.

            So what? In this season we are longing for deliverance. We must not allow ourselves to faint in fear, but instead we must stand firm in faith by meditating on God’s promises to us. And we must hold to God’s sign, Immanuel, seen in a baby lying in a manger, a sign of God’s power and presence in the surprising places of weakness and frailty. But make no mistake, our God is powerful, not only a Lamb that was slain but a Lion who will conquer. And He will bring the victory. So may our every longing for deliverance find its fulfillment and reality in Christ!!