The Word This Week

The Incarnation Part 1…

God has intervened on many occasions to provide man the knowledge of His coming Incarnation.

One of the most prominent of those interventions is found in Isaiah 7:14, when the birth announcement of the Lord Jesus Christ is first foretold.

Our Christmas cards have made us very familiar with this verse because it speaks of the virgin birth of the Christ Child, from about 740 years prior to Jesus’ birth taking place.

When we lift Isaiah 7:14 out of its context, we lose some of the meaning of what this verse is designed to convey. Of course it stands alone as one of the towering verses in God’s Word, but to place it in the context in which it was spoken by Isaiah, it is truly amazing.

It is Isaiah’s first prophecy. It is spoken to a wicked king, named Ahaz. Ahaz has recently succeeded a good king – his grandfather Uzziah, who died.

Isaiah had been a close follower of Uzziah, and I think it is safe to assume he had high hopes for Ahaz. But it was not to be. Instead of following the mostly righteous path set by his grandfather Uzziah, Ahaz chose to seek out Assyrian protection for Judah, and then enveloped himself in the pattern of pagan worship the Assyrians practiced.

Because of his wickedness, Judah had come under attack by the Syrians allied with the northern kingdom of Israel under wicked king Pekah. (This is how Ahaz eventually came under the influence of the Assyrians. He basically paid them with Temple treasure to come from the north and attack Damascus to draw the Syrians and the northern kingdom of Israel away from Jerusalem.)

But at this point in our study in Isaiah 7, this has not happened yet. Ahaz is feeling extremely threatened by the approaching Syrian-Israel coalition, which will inflict terrible damage and loss of life and hostage-taking upon Judah.

Isaiah confronts Ahaz with a word from God about this situation, seeking to provide Ahaz a lifeline for the nation. He tells Ahaz to ask the LORD for a sign, so he can know Judah will indeed survive this onslaught. Ahaz, feigning piety, refuses to put God to the test. Missing this tremendous opportunity does not prevent Isaiah from speaking out. Isaiah tells Ahaz in spite of your refusal to ask for a sign from God, God is going to give you a sign anyway…and here it is, found in Isaiah 7:14, which is the first mention of the Incarnation.

Pastor Bill