e shtunë, 22 shtator 2007

Isaiah 7:3-9

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."

Journal: Isaiah had two sons, and one is mentioned here. His name is Shear-jashub, which literally means "a remnant will return." Thus, we have two contrasting themes being illuminated. First, we have King Ahaz, who embraces rebellion and leads his people into apostasy. His legacy will be one of judgment. As a contrast to this covenant breaker, we see God and His faithfulness to His own covenant. That is, a covenant that He will have a people and that He will be the God of that people. Thus, this promised remnant will fulfill the promise given so many years ago to Abraham - that God will have an elect nation, an election of grace leading to salvation.

While the rebellion of King Ahaz will not allow him to be part of God's eternal grace, he is allowed to share in God's common grace even in the midst of his rebellion. Thus, Isaiah delivers the message to King Ahaz that "these two stubs of smoldering firebrands" (Syria and Israel) will be ineffective and that their plan to place a puppet king in Judah "shall not stand nor shall it come to pass." Are God's promises sure? Of course, and history bears it out. Our time here (the meeting between Isaiah and King Ahaz "at the end of the conduit of the upper pool") is 734 B.C. Two years later, in 732 B.C., Syria will be overrun by Assyria. As for Israel, she lost her northern territories in 734 B.C., her national existence came to an end in 722 B.C. and, through deportations, her people were "shattered" by 669 B.C.

God does not overlook sin. Sin is still repulsive to God. Sin awaits its judgment. It may be a swifter judgment than our own timetable permits. Will the sinner be found as King Ahaz, pursuing rebellion over grace? Or will the sinner be found as Isaiah, pursuing God in the midst of human rebellion?