Day 13

Day 13

Isaiah 7:14 

Therefore, the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son and shall name him Immanuel. 

Stand Firm

This prophecy was originally given to the prophet Isaiah more than 2,500 years ago, at a time when the kingdom of Judah and the city of Jerusalem felt under pressure from surrounding nations which were threatening them. But Isaiah calls on King Ahaz of Judah (in effect) to keep calm and carry on, and to stand firm in his faith in God.  

The sign God promises here in v 14 is meant to reassure him that, for one thing, children will continue to be born in Jerusalem, and to grow up there in peace. Instead, by the time the child grows up, the kingdoms that threaten him won’t exist any more.  

But more important is what the child’s name means: of course “Immanuel” means “God with us”. The sign of the young woman and her child should remind Ahaz that if he does stand firm, God is with him.  

However,  we are familiar with this verse more because it is quoted in Matthew chapter 1, where it refers to Mary giving birth to Jesus. Because in Jesus “God with us” is personified – Jesus came to be with his people, to bring God to them, and not just to the people of Israel but to the whole world, including us. He can help us to stand firm in our faith, as Isaiah exhorted Ahaz to do, but Jesus can be a living presence with us, bringing God’s strength and his reassurance.

 

Alister B

  • Church of England.
  • Diocese of York.