A Sign to Behold – Part 4

Isaiah 7:1-14 – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/…

No matter how remarkable something is, it’s always that much better if it’s for you. The big present under the christmas tree elicits all the more wonder when it has your name on it. Martin Luther often spoke of how amazing the words “for you” in the institution of the Lord’s Supper are. So it is in our text. Perhaps the most amazing part of this miraculous sign is the “immanu” of “immanuel” It’s hebrew for “with us.” This amazing sign that Isaiah speaks of is not a sign for someone else alone, it wasn’t a sign just for Ahaz and Israel but for us! It’s ours. The God-Man belongs to us! As the hymn says, “I am his and He is mine.” More than that it is for US! For people like us. Consider that it was Ahaz to whom Isaiah made this promise. I mentioned that Syria and Israel had been sent to punish him for his sins. 2 chronicles 28 details some of Ahaz’s evil deeds –

– he walked in the ways of the kings of Israel and not David his father.

– he offered to false god’s.

– he even burned his children as a sacrifice.

– he asked assyria for help instead of asking God.

-he caused the people of judah to act sinfully along with him.

– he took from the Lord’s house to give tribute to assyria (which didn’t work).

-in distress he was even more faithless to the Lord.

-because syria defeated him, he sacrificed to their gods as if they would help him.

-he destroyed the vessels of the house of God and shut it’s doors.

-he made altars to false gods all overJerusalem and all over Judah

As far as outward deeds and their effects on others, Ahaz was one of the wickedest people this world has ever seen and still God comes to Him, still God seeks to bring Him to repentance, still Isaiah says to him, “The Lord Your God.” The reason is the unbelievable truth that Jesus had paid for Ahaz’s sins. The “us” of “God with us” includes Ahaz, wretched sinner that he was. Jesus did not just come for those who are mostly good, not only for those who made some mistakes but really have a good heart, no Jesus came for sinners. He came for wretched pathetic sinners like Ahaz…like you and me. You and I really aren’t that different from Ahaz. How often like him haven’t we desired to be more like the world in speech, in entertainment, in dress, in learning – and less like the peculiar people that God made us to be? Do you ever find yourself lacking the desire to hear God’s Word. Perhaps even getting annoyed when someone brings that word to you?

Don’t you and I make false gods by raising up money, tv, work or family above God? When we love ourselves more than those around us are we not sacrificing them on the altars of our own desires? And do we not dishonor God when we look for help to everything but God – music for comfort, philosophy and psychology for answers, our own ingenuity? Not that those things are wrong in themselves but when we look to them in the place of God…We, like Ahaz have sinned greatly. We are wretched, unworthy – guilty. And still God is with us. Still this sign is and always will be for us. This emphasizes the absolutely staggering miracle that God effected through this virgin birth. Many churches today say that it was a myth, Jesus was not God just a really wise and good man that we can learn from. They don’t think we need a savior because they don’t think we are all that bad. But when we recognize what sinners we are, we can see how necessary this wonderful sign is, what a sight for sore eyes – behold the virgin pregnant and bearing a son. This child was the perfect answer to our problem. This child, being man was able to come under the law, to take our place, to fight our battle – perfectly. He was able to suffer and die – as God His perfect life, his suffering and his blood were weighty enough to counterbalance all the sins of the world – His death – the death of God! – was what was needed for the world to be justified and all who believe to have life in His name. Jesus was God with us and what a miracle that was. He is ours – we, sinners that we are, are His – behold that baby in bethlehem’s poor, silent stable – He is the reason, the sign, the seal for our redemption – behold Him and marvel!