Be sure to read the first part of Rod’s article on Isaiah 7-8. This is good stuff!
Assurance of Deliverance: The Virgin Birth
Both Ahaz knew, along with his advisors, that he couldn’t withstand the onslaught much less put it down. His trembling with fear proved it. And, since he had no plans to trust God, his only other choice was to hire an ally. God knew that trusting Him would be challenging to a man like Ahaz, so He told him to ask for assurance. “I’ll give you a sign,” God promised. But Ahaz said, “I’m not going to put God to the test.” Really, is it a test if God said to do it? Wouldn’t the test be if one didn’t do what God said to do?
God offered this sign; Isa. 714:
Therefore Yahweh himself will give you a sign. Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.
As you know, Immanuel means: God with us. The very name carries assurance. To Ahaz the assurance was, “You don’t have to fight the combined forces of Israel and Syria. I will be with you.” Of course it had deeper assurance than a victory over two armies. The virgin birth was the sign to David’s house that God was with them to deliver them from their real and most feared enemy: The Death.
As we’ll see in chapter 8, the sign of the virgin birth would be illustrated and typified in Isaiah’s wife. His second son would be weaned and be able to distinguish right from wrong some time after the threat of these two kings had dissipated.
Ahaz’ fear and failure to trust would cost him; but not only him, his entire nation. Read Isa. 717.
Yahweh will bring on you, on your people, and on your father’s house such days as have never come since the day that Ephraim separated from Judah, the king of Assyria.
The great irony of this story is this: Yahweh turned Ahaz’ actions of panic into the very source of his demise. He hired Assyria instead of trusting Yahweh. He didn’t think Yahweh could or would protect him so he hired someone else. Then Yahweh used Ahaz’ hired agent, the king of Assyria, as His own agent to punish Israel and Judah’s rebellion.
Hiring the Assyrian motivated them to invade; but they went far beyond what Ahaz intended. Indeed, they conquered Syria (Damascus), and Israel (Samaria). But they didn’t stop there! They continued on into Phoenicia, Moab, Ammon, Philistia and all the nations along the Mediterranean coast. Beginning with this monetary motivation from Judah, the Assyrian army set out on a devastating, conquering rampage of all the land lying westward. The action of non-trust by Ahaz impelled Assyria on an extended invasion of conquest throughout the enti
re area. Oh what a big fire a little spark ignited!
There was still more. We saw at the end of chapter five (v. 30), that even the light was darkened by the clouds (of the Assyrian approach). The land was to be immersed in darkness as the Assyrian troops came through. It would not be a temporary darkness, however, as was the case under the Judges. The Assyrian invasion and the subsequent darkness was the beginning of a great national distress that would only be removed in Messiah, the Virgin Born One; and then only for the remnant who returned.
This concept of national darkness should settle into our minds. What happened with Assyria was not just an event in time; it was a momentous event for nearly a millennium. For the next 700, almost 800 years, God’s people, Israel and Judah, were submerged into darkness that would not be lifted till the Son of God came in person. A truly significant, history changing decision occurred in chapter 7. It was Ahaz who submerged the world of Judah into this darkness.