The Christmas Story (Ahaz)
By Glenn Rawson
More than 700 years before the birth of the Savior, the people of Jerusalem were frightened. They were as Isaiah said, “trees shaken by the wind.” The ruthless nation of Assyria was threatening to conquer them. Judah’s neighbors to the north, Ephraim and Syria were hastily forming political alliances to guard against the threat. Judah’s king, Ahaz, however, refused to join the alliance, choosing instead to bargain with Assyria directly for his nation’s safety. This angered Ephraim and Syria and they vowed to invade Jerusalem and remove Ahaz as King.
Isaiah came to Ahaz and said, “Take heed and be quiet; fear not, neither be fainthearted…It shall not stand neither shall it come to pass.” Their threats were to be of no concern.
But it was too much for Ahaz. In his heart he would not believe Isaiah. How could he? Jerusalem’s doom seemed sure in spite of Isaiah’s promises.
Recognizing this, and wanting to reassure the fearful king, Isaiah said, “Ask thee a sign of the Lord thy God; ask it either in the depth, or in the height above.” The Lord was so willing to help Ahaz that he commanded him to ask for a sign, and not just any sign, he could ask for any proof from the depths of hell to the heights of heaven. This was very important, for if the rulers have no faith in the living God, it is not likely the people will either.
But Ahaz was stubborn and refused to ask for the sign. Isaiah was disgusted and said, “The Lord Himself shall give you a sign.” “Behold,” He said, “a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel.”
A virgin bearing a son? By all that we know, that is impossible! Only by a miracle could such a thing as that happen.
It should be remembered that Ahaz would never live to see the promised sign fulfilled. Christ would not be born for another seven hundred years. So why was it given to Ahaz? Because this was not just a sign to Ahaz, but to all the children of God for all time. Jesus Christ was a miracle of the future revealed to give hope and joy in the present. Ahaz should have lifted up his head and rejoiced.
To us, every Christmas should be like the first one; a reminder that God did once and can do again the impossible: that He knows us personally and our struggles and has sent us a Savior.
Christmas is the season of the coldest weather and yet, the warmest hearts; for when Christmas comes, “God is with us” again; in our hearts, our homes and even our music. Indeed Christmas is an everlasting sign to us all that He loves us, and can still do the impossible, this time, perhaps, even for you.