Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His Name Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)
We know this verse best as a prophecy of Jesus' birth, but have you ever heard where it came from in the beginning? There was a war going on against Judah, and King Ahaz was worried about losing. God told Isaiah the prophet to go talk to him and tell him not to be afraid. He even offered to do a miracle so the king could see it and be sure that he wasn't going to lose this war!
And can you believe it? The king said no. He wasn't interested in seeing any miracles. (Ahaz was one of Jesus' royal ancestors, but he was an evil king, and had no interest in following the Lord.)
Well, that didn't make God happy. And so He picked the miracle himself and announced it through Isaiah: A maiden would give birth to a son. A maiden, a virgin, a young woman—the Hebrew word includes all of these meanings.
And so the surface message to the king was simple: A young woman would have a baby, and before the child was old enough to eat solid food and make choices of his own, the enemies of Judah would be gone. It wouldn't take long at all.
King Ahaz ignored the promise and went his own bad way. But hidden in that surface promise was a deeper one for us—the promise of a much greater Child, Jesus, who would be born not just to a young woman but to a virgin. And He would be Immanuel, "God with us." He would save us from much greater enemies than Ahaz faced. Through His life, death, and resurrection, Jesus would save us from the power of death and hell. See how much He loves us!
THE PRAYER: Father, thank You for giving us this double promise—and for giving us Your Son. Amen.
* Have you ever known someone who cheated himself out of something wonderful, as Ahaz did?
* When did someone promise you something good and keep that promise?
* Why do you think God speaks in riddles sometimes?
Advent Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo.
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