Have you ever asked God for a sign?
Even if you never said anything out loud. Did you ever just think to yourself, if you're real God, have that person "do this" or "say that". Or maybe you needed know about making a decision. Have you challenged God to show you in some specific way?
I have. I've asked Him for signs more than once. Sometimes I saw the signs. Sometimes I didn't. Either way, it was always a scary proposition. Because whether you're a person of faith or not, fear gets in the way. I mean, who wants to test God and then get a lightening bolt, right?
What if God challenged you?
That's what happened to Ahaz. You see, there was this king long ago. He wasn't a man who followed after God. In fact he worshipped many other gods. But he sat on the throne of Judah and was in the lineage of David. (Matthew 1:9) This meant that the seed of the Messiah needed to come through him.
But Ahaz had a problem. There were some bigger, badder kings who were planning to come into Judah and takeover. So God sent the prophet Isaiah to give him some encouragement before the battle.
Isaiah's words from God were,
‘Be careful, keep calm and don’t be afraid. Do not lose heart because of the fierce anger of Rezin and Aram...' Isaiah 7:4
Through Isaiah, God told Ahaz that this defeat would not happen and...
'If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.’ Isaiah 7:9
Finally, the prophet Isaiah's words ended by telling Ahaz to ASK God for a sign.
Ahaz had the GO AHEAD!
Ahaz was given a GREEN LIGHT!
Ahaz could ask for a sign without any fear or doubt because God told him to.
Yet Ahaz already had a plan in place. He had paid tribute to the evil King of Assyria to protect him. He had paid him with the treasures from the temple of God. So how convenient it was now to quote a faithful and religious sounding word to keep him from "testing" God. When in fact he most likely feared God the most.
I wonder how often I do this?
I get my ducks all lined up in a row. I plan things out, at my own expense. Even at the expense of others. And THEN I think (or someone suggests) I should put my faith in God. Like it's an afterthought.
"Oh yeah, I probably should have prayed about it." But I don't want to "test" God because that would be wrong. Sure, that sounds better. But isn't it really just my stubborn pride. Isn't it really that I'm planning to rely on my Plan A?
But God wasn't willing to rely on Ahaz' plan. Because He had a plan for salvation that needed to happen. And He wasn't going to let Ahaz ruin it.
God's plans are always better.
If Ahaz went through with his plan and was defeated, the line of David... the lineage of Judah, may have ended. Where would we be now without a Messiah? No Jesus... no salvation.
So God overruled Ahaz. He continued to speak through Isaiah and told Ahaz his sign anyway.
Then Isaiah said, “Hear now, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of humans? Will you try the patience of my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. Isaiah 7:13-14
How grateful I am that God was so stubborn with Ahaz. How grateful I am that He is so stubborn with me. That He does not let me get away with my own way... my own pride, my own reasoning. How grateful I am that God persisted in His plan to send Jesus as our Savior so that we could be saved from our own stubbornness and sin.
So in this today, I believe...
'If you do not stand firm in your faith,
you will not stand at all.’
The Word of God is training me
to have stubborn faith...
to stand firm in it.
Knowing that He stood firm for me.
He overcame evil for my good.
I too can stand firm in my faith
so that evil can be overcome!
Thank You, Lord for stubborn faith.
Help me to persist in this.
Give us all a sign today!
Let us KNOW, without doubt
that YOU are stubborn for us!
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