7:10 Again the LORD spoke to Ahaz, saying,
7:11 Ask a sign of the LORD your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven.
7:12 But Ahaz said, I will not ask, and I will not put the LORD to the test.
7:13 Then Isaiah said: “Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary mortals, that you weary my God also?
7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman (a virgin) is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.
7:15 He shall eat curds and honey by the time he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good.
7:16 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.
The nation of Israel was facing many threats and political instability. They needed a leader who was going to follow after God’s commands and continue to pursue God in ruling the nation.
Here we see how Ahaz was not a god-fearing leader. He lacked faith in God and His ability to provide a solution for the nation. Instead He foolishly put his hope and trust in other gods to bring about a solution. God even gives Ahaz a chance to ask of a sign to prove that He is faithful. Ahaz stubbornly and pridefully refuses.
The reasoning behind his refusal is that he would then have to admit that there is indeed an all powerful God and that the faith he had put into the pagan idols were false. He has decided in his own head that he is going to refuse to believe anything that God does or says. In the end Ahaz decided that it’s easier to loose himself to Assyria then wait for the promise of salvation from God.
The beautiful thing about this passage is that we still see the message of the Gospel and God’s Grace coming through. He gives the nation a sign that He is willing to save them despite Ahaz’s wickedness and refusal to ask. The sign He gives them is a promise of salvation and God’s power. It is the true security and stability that the nation is longing for and God provides even through our weakness.
This passage in Isaiah is one of the proof texts that is used to to demonstration that Jesus was the messiah. A careful reading of the passage would lead most readers to believe that the passage was about the conflict between Israel and Assyria. However, verses 13-16 are kind of nestled into the passage and do not seem to fit with what was going on. Many theologians would point out that it’s because this is a prophetic few verses where God to foretelling a time much further off than the current time it was spoken by Isaiah. This idea is emphasized further by verse 16 where God says that the the two kings oppressing Israel will be deserted by the time the prophecy comes to pass. So, if the prophecy was not about the Assyrian conflict what was it about?
The bulk of Christian thought is that this prophecy is about the messiah. This is why we believe that Jesus was born of a virgin and he was called Immanuel. Immanuel (עִמָּנוּאֵל) is Hebrew for “God is with us”, or “God with us”. The birth narrative of Jesus as told by Matthew connects this passage to Jesus which is how it became cemented in Christian thought.
The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel which means ‘God with us’. (Matthew 1:23)
Our faith should be strengthened that God had such a long term plan for humanity. Even as wicked kings like Ahaz were defiling the nation and sin was abounding, God was setting up His plan to save humanity from itself, and that is really what salvation is; we are being saved from our own sin and wickedness and being spared the wages of that sin. This is why God sent us Jesus; humble as a baby and gentle as a lamb. Yet, this lamb was God’s incarnated deity with man on the earth. Literally God was in the flesh and He was Immanuel, God with us. Even now His Spirit is within us.