Read the text below, preferably aloud. As you hear the word, “listen with the ear of your heart” for a word or short phrase that God has for you this day.
Isaiah 7:13-14; 9:6-7
Then Isaiah said: ‘Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary mortals, that you weary my God also? 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.
For a child has been born for us,
a son given to us;
authority rests upon his shoulders;
and he is named
Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
His authority shall grow continually,
and there shall be endless peace
for the throne of David and his kingdom.
He will establish and uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time onwards and for evermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
This passage takes place amidst a dire situation for the nation of Judea. Marching towards the capital city Jerusalem are two armies who have joined forces — Israel from the north (the Israelites at this time were divided) in alliance with Syria — to take over the city and install a puppet ruler. The prophet Isaiah warns the current ruler, King Ahaz, that if he does not turn back to God and ask for divine help, his nation will surely lose.
Yet in a show of false piety, King Ahaz declares that he will not ask for any sign from God, instead relying on his own machinations to stay in power. It is to this stubbornness that Isaiah responds in the Scripture passage above.
Ahaz misses his chance, Isaiah promises that now it will take something truly miraculous to save the Jews. In a show of faithfulness that can simply not be worn out, God will still stay with the people, sending a Messiah. His name shall be Immanuel.
It might not seem like such a stretch that the early Christians, already believing that Jesus is the Son of God, would look back in this passage and have an “Aha!” moment — this is Him!
Does a word or phrase stands out to you?
Messianic Predictions, Thomas Ingmire, © 2005 The Saint John’s Bible, Order of Saint Benedict, Collegeville, Minnesota, USA. Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Catholic Edition, Copyright 1993, 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.