All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means 'God is with us'). Isaiah 7:14
This time of year, I am particularly impatient. Christmas Day is so close, yet not quite here, and I am ready for it. I am ready to celebrate the birth of my Savior, to see my family members who I do not get to see very often, to eat good food, and, yes, I am ready to exchange Christmas presents. I am waiting for Christmas Day. Perhaps you are waiting in anticipation for Christmas Day too.
The Israelite people were very familiar with the idea of waiting. You see, there is a time gap between the Old Testament and New Testament of approximately 400 years. During this time, the people of Israel were waiting for Jesus.
The Israelites were given the promise of a coming Savior in Isaiah 7. The book of Isaiah was written at a time when the people of Israel were divided into two kingdoms: Israel and Judah. Isaiah 7 recounts a time many believed that Judah was going to be destroyed. Although this situation with Judah looked hopeless, God promised the king of Judah, through the prophet Isaiah, that Judah would not be destroyed. He promised that there was hope for Judah. As a sign of this hope, Isaiah prophesied that a coming King would come through the royal family line of the beloved King David. This King's name would be Immanuel, which literally means "God with us." This coming King, Isaiah prophesied, would be greater than any earthly king. Because of this King, there was hope for Judah. Because we have the Old Testament and the New Testament now, we know that this King that Isaiah prophesied about was Jesus.
After reading this passage in Isaiah, it is easy to go straight to Matthew or Luke and point the birth of Jesus as the fulfillment of this prophesy and promise. We must not, however, rush too quickly to the birth of Christ. We must acknowledge the long period of waiting between the promise of Jesus and the fulfillment of that promise. After the last book of the Old Testament was written, the Israelites waited for approximately 400 years before this prophecy from Isaiah was fulfilled. In other words, for a long, long period of time, the Israelites were waiting for Christmas. They were waiting for the birth of Immanuel, God with Us.
Are you going through a season of waiting? Are you waiting for God to intervene in a particular situation? Are you waiting for a prayer to be answered? Are you waiting for God to reveal why you had to face the trial you faced? Are you waiting for God to reveal the good He promises to bring out of your suffering (Romans 8:28)? Are you waiting for healing? Waiting is hard, and the truth is, we may be waiting on some of these things until we reach heaven. As we face this tender time of waiting, we have a promise, or, rather, a person, to hold on to: Immanuel, God with us. God is with us as we wait. We are not alone. If we hold on and cling to Him, He will sustain us. He will be our peace.
What are you waiting on today? Will you cling to Him as you wait?
Whatever you are waiting on today, remember the promise of Immanuel: God with us. You are not alone as you wait. The Lord is with you. You can trust Him, and you can rely on His faithfulness. Take some time today to listen to the song Seasons by Hillsong Worship. Reflect on God's faithfulness. Declare to Him, as the lyrics say, "If you're not done working, God, I'm not done waiting." You may even find that there is joy to be found in the waiting.
Read Isaiah 7:10-17 (NLT)
Later, the Lord sent this message to King Ahaz: “Ask the Lord your God for a sign of confirmation, Ahaz. Make it as difficult as you want—as high as heaven or as deep as the place of the dead.”
But the king refused. “No,” he said, “I will not test the Lord like that.”
Then Isaiah said, “Listen well, you royal family of David! Isn’t it enough to exhaust human patience? Must you exhaust the patience of my God as well? All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’). By the time this child is old enough to choose what is right and reject what is wrong, he will be eating yogurt and honey. For before the child is that old, the lands of the two kings you fear so much will both be deserted.
“Then the Lord will bring things on you, your nation, and your family unlike anything since Israel broke away from Judah. He will bring the king of Assyria upon you!”
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