“And the head of Ephraim is Samaria, and the head of Samaria is the son of Remaliah. If you are not firm in faith, you will not be firm at all.’ ””(Isaiah 7:9, ESV)
As the prophet Isaiah stood before the king of Judah, the circumstances were extremely dire. War was imminent and the kings of Syria and Israel were ready to snuff out Ahaz and his people. At the news, the king and his people “shook as the trees of the forest shake before the wind” (Isaiah 7:2).
The man of God had come to bring a word from the Lord to King Ahaz: “Be careful, be quiet, do not fear, and do not let your heart be faint because of these two smoldering stumps of firebrands…” (Isaiah 7:4). Just as the terror Ahaz and the people felt was real, so too was the reality of the threats from these kings. The message wasn’t that Ahaz was overreacting, because he wasn’t. The message was one of faith.
The prophet Isaiah brought a word to this king that these two kings, mighty by human standards, were nothing more to God than smoldering logs in a campfire; in other words, harmless to do any damage. Both of these kings would be dead in two years. But Ahaz didn’t know this. All the evidence that he could see pointed to defeat and death. As far as the king could see with his limited understanding, destruction was the inevitable outcome. But God…
In response, the prophet spoke words of hope to the King of Judah. The threats would not stand and would never come to pass. The heads of these nations would be cut off and the people would be shattered. God himself would eliminate the danger and would rescue his people.
The question was, would the king capitalize on these words? Would King Ahaz find a firm footing on the Word of God so that he could have the peace he and his people wanted and needed? “If you are not firm in faith, you will not be firm at all.”
The Israelites would face many years in captivity, and they would wonder if there would ever be that peace that God promised. Many could not see it. They could not understand the coming of Immanuel and the eternal peace that he would offer through his sacrificial death and triumphant resurrection. The could not see that the final King David, of the tribe of Judah, will come and restore everything once again and establish eternal peace. But some did see it through eyes of faith, and looked forward to the coming of the Promised One. And in these promises they found hope and peace.
Today, I hear and see many Christians clamoring for hope when hope is right in front of them. They are scared–scared of a virus, scared of riots, scared of political winds changing to more radicalism, scared of losing everything. “If you are not firm in faith, you will not be firm at all.“
Do you want peace? “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.” (Isaiah 26:3–4, ESV) Put your trust in Jesus Christ–the wind and wave stiller, the sickness healer, the serpant crusher, the death destroyer, the sin forgiver, the gift giver, the life restorer, the only-wise King eternal.
Only Jesus Christ will stand. All other ground is sinking sand.