Read Isaiah 7:10-16

Again the LORD spoke to Ahaz, saying,

Ask a sign of the LORD your God;

let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven.

But Ahaz said, I will not ask, and I will not put the LORD to the test.

Then Isaiah said: “Hear then, O house of David!

Is it too little for you to weary mortals, that you weary my God also?

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign.

Look, the young woman is with child

and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.

He shall eat curds and honey

by the time he knows

how to refuse the evil and choose the good.

For before the child knows

how to refuse the evil and choose the good,

the land before whose two kings you are in dread will be deserted.


from Rev. Richard Howard

First Christian Church, Morgantown

There are times in our lives when we want tangible assurance about our faith. We desire some sign about the reality of God to guide us when full of doubt. King Ahaz desperately wanted assurance that the decisions he was making were right. The prophet Isaiah urged Ahaz to ask the LORD God for a sign, but Ahaz had wandered so far off from the LORD God that he was afraid to ask. God, through Isaiah, gave Ahaz one anyway.   Ahaz wanted God to smite Judah’s enemies and bless his reign and the foreign alliances he had made. Instead God, through Isaiah, told Ahaz of a child to be born soon to a young woman of the kingdom, a son who would be named “Immanuel” or “God with us.”

Isn’t this often the case? We want God to promise to go powerfully before us, to make our way in life smooth and level. Instead, God promises that whatever we encounter, he will be with us in the journey. As Christians, we have traditionally looked at this passage from Isaiah and interpreted it to be the promise of the gift of Jesus into our lives and world. While not the original interpretation, as we look at it through our Christian “lenses,” we can see the promise of God through Isaiah revealed in the gift of another child – Jesus.

We want a sense that God is with us in meaningful ways. The promise found in the journey of Jesus in our world offers us that sense. The author of the Gospel of Matthew looked at Isaiah 7 and saw the promise of God in the child named Immanuel to be fulfilled in the child Jesus. It is in Jesus that we, too, will find the fulfillment of the promise of Immanuel. In Jesus, we will find that God is indeed with us, always.

O God, help me to see your promised fulfilled

in the coming of your Holy Child. Amen.