Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Annunciation to JosephIsaiah 7: 10-17
“Therefore, the Lord himself will give you a sign: See, the virgin will conceive, have a son, and name him Immanuel.” – Isaiah 7:14
Today’s scripture portion focuses on the “Immanuel Prophecy”. At the time of the Lord’s revelation of this prophecy through Isaiah, King Ahaz of Judah is facing an imminent threat of attack from the nations of Israel and Aram (Syria). If we look at the earlier part of this chapter, we read that “the heart of Ahaz and the hearts of his people trembled like trees of a forest shaking in the wind” (v. 2) in response to this threat. The Lord then instructs Isaiah to tell Ahaz to “calm down and be quiet” (v. 4) and not to be afraid. The Lord was reassuring Ahaz and His people that despite overwhelming circumstances, He was still to be trusted to provide deliverance from this threat.
The Lord even invites Ahaz to ask for any sign from the Lord to demonstrate His faithfulness to His word. However, instead of responding in faith and obedience, Ahaz misconstrues scripture and states that he will not ask for a sign as he does not want to test the Lord.
Because Ahaz tried the patience of the Lord with his lack of faith, the Lord Himself declared a sign to come through the virgin birth of Immanuel.
When we compare Ahaz’s response to overwhelming uncertainty with that of Joseph in Matthew 1, we see contrasting postures of faith. Joseph was faced with the uncertainty of Mary’s conception through the Holy Spirit. Surely, he experienced many doubts, questions and concerns. Just as the Lord anticipated Ahaz’s fearful response, the Lord sent an angel to Joseph in a dream to assuage his fears and concerns about this precarious situation. In response, “when Joseph woke up, he did as the Lord’s angel commanded him” (Matt 1:24).
As a result of Joseph’s faithful obedience, the Immanuel prophecy was fulfilled through the virgin birth of Jesus.
When we are overcome with fears beyond our control, we can trust the Lord will always work for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. (Rom 8:28)
Dear Lord, strengthen our faith to trust you more than our fears. Remind us of your faithfulness to us in our past so that we can confidently walk with you in our present and into our futures knowing You will always fulfill Your perfect plans. Amen.
Thought for the Day
We can embrace our circumstances, knowing it is You alone Lord, who gives us the strength to accept where You have us right now.
Jason & Anila Thomas