Just for argument’s sake, let’s say you don’t like the president of the United States. Not as a person necessarily, but as a president. And let’s say with every new day and new policy you are shouting out “ENOUGH!” You feel like you are being wearied to exhaustion. And just to be clear I am speaking of any president; whoever may be president. And if that president is completely immoral doesn’t that amp up the weariness factor? But, the president is who the United States has to work with in the moment. I wonder how God feels when he is working with us. Well, hmm.

Isaiah 7:10-16 will always be tied in with the birth of Jesus. And that’s good. But if we divorce it from its context, that is bad. The context is that the evil king Ahaz is doing what God wants him to do in that he is not siding with Aram and Israel in their rebellion against Assyria. Isaiah is sent to encourage him to stay the course. In this context, we have “Then Yahweh spoke to him “adding,” or “joining with.” This is an oracle that is added to the previous one; it is joined together with it. So, it is going to be an encouragement to stay the course. The beginning of the oracle is Isaiah telling Ahaz to “ask for a sign from Yahweh your God.” God is Elohim and it means ruler or judge. This may be a subtle or not so subtle reminder that Yahweh is your judge. Not Rezin or Pekah. Not even Tiglath-Pileser. So, ask your judge for a sign. You can make it as deep as Sheol or as high as the higher place. God is offering to confirm the message.

Ahaz said, “I will not ask, nor will I test Yahweh.” Well, that may sound pious, after all the Israelites were commanded not to put Yahweh their God to the test in Deuteronomy 6:16, but in reality it is a rebellious refusal to do what God asked of him. Maybe he thought he could seek advice from Baal instead. Maybe his fear was easier to accept than a sign from God. Isaiah addresses him with a plural “you,” and calls him the “house of David.” As evil as Ahaz was, he is the line of David who will be followed by others in the line of David (hence the plural “you”). It is this house that is in danger. This is not about God rescuing the evil king Ahaz. It is about keeping his promise to David (2 Samuel 7:11). The house of David will stand. But the current house of David is wearing the people out. The word “try the patience of” means “make weary” and it often refers to wearing on a person to the point where they say “enough!” Even though Ahaz inherited a problem that was not of his making, he was doing nothing to help the problem. Not to mention, an evil king; a king who sacrifices his baby to some god or other, can lead a people to say “enough!”

But it is more than that. He is also wearing on God and God is on the verge of saying “ENOUGH!” That is a dangerous situation boys and girls. So, Yahweh will give him a sign. And here we must discuss the nature of signs. They are not always miracles. In chapter eight of Isaiah, the name of Isaiah’s son is called a sign. Well, there is nothing miraculous in a name. Eli is told that when his sons die it will be a sign of God’s disfavor. The word defines anything that points out God’s truth. And here we come to verse 14 which is quoted in Matthew 1:23. The Hebrew word translated “virgin” simply refers to a young lady who is sexually mature. Sometimes it is negative (involved in sexual sin) and sometimes positive (marriageable purity). The word has an article so it is not just any woman. Most likely it was one of the ladies who was standing in Ahaz’s court. Most likely it was his new queen Abia, who became the mother of Hezekiah. This fits the context and it fit the mention of the house of David. This child will be named “God With Us.” Neither the name Jesus nor the title Christ have this meaning. However, Jesus is God with us in the most significant way possible. Hezekiah will eat curds and honey which is a sign of either abundance or of the depletion of people in the land – everyone can eat curds and honey because there are not many people left. Since Pekah and Rezin have already killed and captured several, the latter fits the situation. Before this child can tell write from wrong the two kings that they dread will come to nothing. Some have postulated 3 as the correct age. What is important is that they do not have to dread these two kings. Aram and Israel will come to nothing. Israel was reduced to an Assyrian province in 733 B.C.

Jesus is the ultimate fulfilment of this passage. He is the continuation of the house of David. But this prophecy is about obeying God; about trusting in God’s promises. It is about not wearying God with rebellion and feigned piety. And that, my sisters and brothers, is what the story of Jesus is about. So, in order to avoid a shout of “ENOUGH!” from God, we are going to want to follow Jesus. Shalom.