From Wikimedia Commons

In its original context, the verse about the virgin giving birth is NOT about Jesus. Let me explain.

The challenge for any political leader is to know which powers to align yourself with. Ahaz, King of Judah, was anxious about the threat of attack from Aram and Israel (vv1–2).

So God sends Isaiah to reassure Ahaz that those two countries are spent as powers, and not to worry (vv3–9).

Ahaz only needs to trust in God. We learn from 2 Kings 16:6–9 that Ahaz didn’t end up trusting in God, and instead pledged allegiance to Assyria, the up-and-coming superpower, signing a treaty with them for protection.

When Isaiah realises this, he explodes in anger, because he knows that Assyria will invade Judah and attack it (vv17–20). How soon would Aram and Israel stop being a threat?

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Soon enough that if a currently- unmarried woman got married now, fell pregnant, gave birth to a son, confidently named him ‘Immanuel’ as a patriotic boast (v14), by the time that child had grown up, Aram and Israel would have fallen (vv15–16).

If only Ahaz had waited. I described it in my book, Those Who Wait: ‘This is what we do when we fear.

This is what we do when we feel we have been waiting for God for too long. We make treaties.

We sign away our freedom to an enemy, because we believe that God has forgotten us.’* Consider where in your life you’re finding it hard to trust in God for your future and security.

What are you turning to instead? It might just be that God is saying your fear is unjustified and you need to trust again.


A Prayer To Make:
‘Dear Lord, You are my hiding place, my shelter and my rock. Please warn me when I’m making allegiances with the wrong people or trusting in things rather than You. Amen.’

An Action To Take:
Ask yourself: where do I truly put my security? What helps me feel safe in this life? Is there any aspect of my future I’m afraid to trust God for?

Scripture To Consider:
2 Kgs 16:1–9; Isa. 31:1–3; Matt. 6:25–34; Phil. 4:4–7

Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.