The Gateway Church

in and around Kings Lynn, West Norfolk

Ahaz doesn’t cash the cheque

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Michelangelo,_lunetta,_Uzziah_-_Jotham_-_Ahaz_01Isaiah has had an encounter with God and no longer has a divided heart – but King Ahaz has still got a divided heart.

It was a crisis moment in Judah – still loyal to the Davidic dynasty of Jerusalem. 200 yrs before the kingdom had split in two – then ten Northern tribes of Israel splitting off. Now the Assyrian Empire is stretching its’ muscles and so Israel has joined with Syria in a mutual defence pact and is now trying to attack Judah near Jerusalem.

God is not going to let that happen 7:1 and says so through Isaiah. But Ahaz doesn’t want to listen, preferring panic and hand wringing, looking to get himself out of the mess without God’s help. That’s the setting – the crisis of the generation and all the more so because the nation had no sense of the glory of God.

God often brings us to crisis points – will we trust Him? The answer is either an agonised struggle wavering or a clear yes Lord!

At this moment 7:3 – Ahaz is thinking about stockpiling – he is inspecting the water supply with his son Shear-Jashub whose name means “A remnant will return” (if all else fails and the worst happens, God will protect His remnant).

Isaiah delivers a prophetic call to confidence in God v4 – the Syro-Ephraimic (Syria and Israel) alliance will fail – they are just firebrands – cigarette butts and God has appointed a drop-dead date for Israel anyway. That all comes to pass – God keeps His word.
Ahaz is being offered the opportunity of a lifetime to know what it means to be saved by God – v9b “Hold firm in the faith or you will not hold out”

God is attracted to weakness, need and honesty = real faith!
“Faith is knowledge of God, persuading us to agree with God that motivates is to embrace God.”

Ortlund “in your crisis when it counts for you, trust me, I will keep my every promise. But if you treat me as unreal, you will not connect with reality at all”

v10-12 Ahaz has been offered a blank cheque – ask me for a sign, but he refuses to cash it.
He rejects with diplomatic hypocrisy – because he knows if lets God in, God will take control.

v13 Isaiah says “my God” in contrast to Ahaz'”Your God”

v14 the classic verse – “The virgin will give birth to a son…”
Matt 1:18-25 has that fulfilled in Jesus Christ, but the immediate context links it to Isaiah’s day – so it is fulfilled in two ways.

Once as Isaiah’s son and then as Jesus God with Us,

We face a far more hostile alliance than ancient Syria and Ephraim – sin and death; that will not go away, which is why the ultimate fulfilment is Jesus Christ – God with us

God kept his promise to Ahaz – he will be safe from Syria-Ephraim, but Assyria will come. It’s like a mouse being attacked by two rats and cries out to a cat to save it. The cat does and then has the mouse for pudding!

Much easier to trust God in every crisis! He will never fail.