Are You Asking for a Sign?

Sheila Painter

Then the LORD spoke again to Ahaz: “Ask for a sign from the LORD your God—it can be as deep as Sheol or as high as heaven.” But Ahaz replied, “I will not ask. I will not test the LORD.”

Isaiah said, “Listen, house of David! Is it not enough for you to try the patience of men? Will you also try the patience of my God? Therefore, the Lord himself will give you a sign: See, the virgin will conceive, have a son, and name him Immanuel. By the time he learns to reject what is bad and choose what is good, he will be eating curds and honey. For before the boy knows to reject what is bad and choose what is good, the land of the two kings you dread will be abandoned. The LORD will bring on you, your people, and your father’s house such a time as has never been since Ephraim separated from Judah: He will bring the king of Assyria.”

Isaiah 7:10-17
Do you sometimes have trouble believing the acts God has done or what He will do in the future? God understands how hard it is for our sorely lacking human brains to really comprehend and believe that He can do the things He says He can do. In your desire clarity, are you asking for a sign?
Ahaz Instructed to Ask for a Sign
In today’s reading, Isaiah told Ahaz to ask God for a sign to confirm His instruction and protection. He told Ahaz he could ask for the sign to be anything he chose in the supernatural realm. God gave him an incredible privilege and blessing! Unfortunately, Ahaz decided to rely on his own human ability instead of giving the power over to God.
How many times have we been guilty of the same? His self-righteous declaration that he would not test God served to keep the decision-making power to himself, showing disobedience, distrust and disbelief. Ahaz was more trusting of his own flesh than God. Fear is always a hindrance to God’s power.
The Sign is Given
So, after admonishing Ahaz and all the house of David for not trusting God and obeying Him, Isaiah proclaims the sign. We also know it as the Immanuel Prophecy. In verse 14, he says a virgin will conceive, have a son, and name Him Immanuel, which means God with us.
John Mason‘s translation from the Latin version of “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” is my absolute favorite Christmas hymn. Today’s passage in Isaiah inspired this lovely hymn:
                    “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
                    And ransom captive Israel
                    That mourns in lonely exile here,
                    Until the son of God appear.
                    Rejoice! Rejoice Emmanuel
                    Shall come to thee O Israel.”
The Sign of God’s Sovereignty
After the rebuke, we see in verses 15 and 16 that Isaiah goes on to tell Ahaz the child will be eating curds and honey before he is able to reject what is bad and choose what is good. He also informs the king that the land of the two kings he dreads will be abandoned. Isaiah is telling Ahaz that all the fear and anxiety he is exhibiting is in vain. The child and Judah will be safe and secure. God always is and always will be in control no matter what we humans choose to do.
In verse 17 Isaiah warns Ahaz that because of his unbelief, disobedience, and wickedness, he will experience God’s wrath and judgement. The very one Ahaz had turned to for help, the king of Assyria, will become his staunch adversary and turn the tables on him.
God is always right. If we allow Him to be in full control, we will not falter. His way is always the best way. Let us make this a Christmas to remember that the sign was indeed given in spite of Ahaz’s refusal to obey God. It was, indeed, a sign as deep as Sheol and as high as heaven.
What Now?
Do you have trouble believing so much that you are asking for a sign? With prayerful, respectful sincerity, ask God to open your eyes to the signs He’s given.