e martë, 25 shtator 2007

Isaiah 7:13-25

Passage: When Ahaz son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, was king of Judah, King Rezin of Aram and Pekah son of Remaliah king of Israel marched up to fight against Jerusalem, but they could not overpower it.

Now the house of David was told, "Aram has allied itself with Ephraim"; so the hearts of Ahaz and his people were shaken, as the trees of the forest are shaken by the wind.
Then the Lord said to Isaiah, "Go out now to meet Ahaz, you and your son Shear-jashub, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool, on the highway to the fuller's field, and say to him, 'Take care and be calm, have no fear and do not be fainthearted because of the 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," thus says the Lord God: "it shall not stand nor shall it come to pass. For the head of Aram is Damascus and the head of Damascus is Rezin (now within another 65 years Ephraim will be shattered, so that it is no longer a people), and the head of Ephraim is Samaria and the head of Samaria is the son of Remaliah. If you will not believe, you surely shall not last."

Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, 'Ask the Lord your God for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights."

But Ahaz said, "I will not ask; I will not put the Lord to the test."

Then Isaiah said, "Hear now, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of men? Will you try the patience of my God also? Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. He will eat curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right.

But before the boy knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, the land of the two kings you dread will be laid waste. The Lord will bring on you and on your people and on the house of your father a time unlike any since Ephraim broke away from Judah - he will bring the king of Assyria."

In that day the Lord will whistle for flies from the distant streams of Egypt and for bees from the land of Assyria. They will all come and settle in the steep ravines and in the crevices in the rocks, on all the thorn bushes and at all the water holes. In that day the Lord will use a razor hired from beyond the River - the king of Assyria - to shave your head and the hair of your legs, and to take off your beards also. In that day, a man will keep alive a young cow and two goats. And because of the abundance of the milk they give, he will have curds to eat. All who remain in the land will eat curds and honey. In that day, in every place where there were a thousand vines worth a thousand silver shekels, there will be only briers and thorns. Men will go there with bow and arrow, for the land will be covered with briers and thorns. As for all the hills once cultivated by the hoe, you will no longer go there for fear of the briers and thorns; they will become places where cattle are turned loose and where sheep run.

Journal: King Ahaz refused to call upon a sign that God so graciously offered. God determines to give a sign anyway - a sign that is full of grace for the children of God and yet a sign that is replete with judgment for those that reject God. This sign is not meant for just King Ahaz or just for Judah but, rather, is a sign for all men everywhere. This sign, this child born to a virgin, was inextricably interwoven to the covenant that God gave to Abraham. A covenant that promised that Abraham would father a people, and that God would be the God of that people.

Therefore, King Ahaz represents the house of David through whom God had promised to fulfill His promise of a coming mediator (2 Sam. 7:8-16). However, there has been great debate over the identity of the virgin and her son. Some have inferred that the virgin is the wife of Isaiah. Others point to a son of King Ahaz, namely Hezekiah. Others believe that Isaiah was given a vision of the Virgin Mary.

Still others insist that the virgin would have been a woman known to both Isaiah and King Ahaz that would have later married and given birth in their day to a child called Immanuel (that is, it would have been a "type" that foreshadowed what would happen 700 years later with the birth of Jesus). This "type," or an event that foreshadowed the birth of Christ centuries later, seems to me to be the most likely. That is, a virgin known to Isaiah and King Ahaz gets married, has a child called Immanuel, and this child represents the provision of God's Son some 700 years later.

Finally, still others reject this "double fulfillment" theory and believe that King Ahaz, though witnessing the wrath of God in person, did not witness the birth of the promised "Immanuel." This Immanuel lays in the future only and King Ahaz, in his representative role of the House of David, is "witnessing" this sign only in that representative role.

In any event, one thing is certain. The message of Isaiah is all about Jesus. That is, God will show mercy even as His creation shakes its collective fist. Jesus will come into the world as the deliverer for God's people. Without this deliverer, there would be no hope for a sinful world.