Opening Prayer

Thank you, Jesus, that you are always with me, whether or not I am aware of your presence. Your eyes are never taken from me, even when my sight is not on you.


The Sign of Immanuel

When Ahaz son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, was king of Judah, King Rezin of Aram and Pekah son of Remaliah king of Israel marched up to fight against Jerusalem, but they could not overpower it.

Now the house of David was told, “Aram has allied itself with[a] Ephraim”; so the hearts of Ahaz and his people were shaken, as the trees of the forest are shaken by the wind.

Then the Lord said to Isaiah, “Go out, you and your son Shear-Jashub,[b] to meet Ahaz at the end of the aqueduct of the Upper Pool, on the road to the Launderer’s Field. Say to him, ‘Be careful, keep calm and don’t be afraid. Do not lose heart because of these two smoldering stubs of firewood—because of the fierce anger of Rezin and Aram and of the son of Remaliah. Aram, Ephraim and Remaliah’s son have plotted your ruin, saying, “Let us invade Judah; let us tear it apart and divide it among ourselves, and make the son of Tabeel king over it.” Yet this is what the Sovereign Lord says:

“‘It will not take place,
    it will not happen,
for the head of Aram is Damascus,
    and the head of Damascus is only Rezin.
Within sixty-five years
    Ephraim will be too shattered to be a people.
The head of Ephraim is Samaria,
    and the head of Samaria is only Remaliah’s son.
If you do not stand firm in your faith,
    you will not stand at all.’”

10 Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, 11 “Ask the Lord your God for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights.”

12 But Ahaz said, “I will not ask; I will not put the Lord to the test.”

13 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? 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you[c] a sign: The virgin[d] will conceive and give birth to a son, and[e] will call him Immanuel.[f] 15 He will be eating curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, 16 for before the boy knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, the land of the two kings you dread will be laid waste. 17 The Lord will bring on you and on your people and on the house of your father a time unlike any since Ephraim broke away from Judah—he will bring the king of Assyria.”

Assyria, the Lord’s Instrument

18 In that day the Lord will whistle for flies from the Nile delta in Egypt and for bees from the land of Assyria. 19 They will all come and settle in the steep ravines and in the crevices in the rocks, on all the thornbushes and at all the water holes. 20 In that day the Lord will use a razor hired from beyond the Euphrates River—the king of Assyria—to shave your head and private parts, and to cut off your beard also. 21 In that day, a person will keep alive a young cow and two goats. 22 And because of the abundance of the milk they give, there will be curds to eat. All who remain in the land will eat curds and honey. 23 In that day, in every place where there were a thousand vines worth a thousand silver shekels,[g] there will be only briers and thorns. 24 Hunters will go there with bow and arrow, for the land will be covered with briers and thorns. 25 As for all the hills once cultivated by the hoe, you will no longer go there for fear of the briers and thorns; they will become places where cattle are turned loose and where sheep run.


  1. Isaiah 7:2 Or has set up camp in
  2. Isaiah 7:3 Shear-Jashub means a remnant will return.
  3. Isaiah 7:14 The Hebrew is plural.
  4. Isaiah 7:14 Or young woman
  5. Isaiah 7:14 Masoretic Text; Dead Sea Scrolls son, and he or son, and they
  6. Isaiah 7:14 Immanuel means God with us.
  7. Isaiah 7:23 That is, about 25 pounds or about 12 kilograms

New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


‘A mighty fortress is our God, / a bulwark never failing.’1 Express your renewed trust in this God.

Think Further

Who will you trust when things get sticky? When everything is going right, the sky is clear and the sun is shining, it’s easy to trust God! But when the pressure is on? Isaiah confronts a king threatened to the point of terror by near neighbors Aram (Syria) and Israel (or Ephraim), who in turn are menaced by Assyria. Already the king is out safeguarding the water supply in the event of a siege (v. 3). ‘Keep calm’ and ‘Don’t be afraid’ (see v. 4) seem hollow words when everything appears against you, but God looks for trust. He is the God who created the ‘house of David’ (vv. 2, 13) with protective promises2 and he now reiterates his Word. ‘You of little faith,’3 Jesus says to his disciples when there is good reason to trust. Isaiah reveals how things will end (vv. 7–9) and sets out a timescale that is also in God’s hands (v. 16). The sign is a baby whose name declares ‘God with us’ (v. 14), standing by our side whatever transpires. Perspective changes massively when we are not consumed by fear.

Ahaz chooses on behalf of the nation, rejecting any sign from God. Thus, the greater fear of human armies overcomes trust in God. There is both warning and hope in this story. Isaiah’s child’s name (v. 3) reveals both. Shear-Jashub, meaning ‘a remnant will return,’ is at once a threat (‘only’ a remnant will be left) and a hope (God will ensure ‘at least’ a remnant will be left). In God’s purposes, both will be true. Rejecting trust in God will lead to the four ‘in that day’ images of verses 18–25. They emphasize God’s global power, which can call on nations to humble his people and disturb nature to produce uninhabitable land. Even in the cataclysm, however, the few who remain will be fed (v. 22).


Are there decisions we make as individuals and churches which are from fear rather than faith? What can we do to change our perspective?

Closing prayer

Help me, Father, to remember your faithfulness to your promises, your faithfulness to me. Thank you that you are present and at work wherever you lead me.

Last Updated on July 3, 2024 by kingstar

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *