Advent Devotionals: Day 14

Isaiah 7:14

"Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel."

Many people are familiar with this prophecy as it is referenced in the story of Jesus' birth in Matthew 1:23, but it's also important to see the verse in its original context.

Isaiah was speaking during a very tumultuous time for God's people. During this season the northern kingdom of Israel linked up with the kingdom of Syria, and they were ready to conquer the southern kingdom of Judah. On top of that, a wicked man named Aliaz who didn't trust in the Lord was ruling the kingdom of Judah. Isaiah tells Ahaz, the king of Judah to trust in God for salvation from this invasion, but instead Ahaz rejected the provision from the Lord and sought out stronger nations to rescue him. But God is relentless and decides to show Judah and their king a sign of his provision anyway, even when they didn't want it. Isaiah promised that a child will be born and before he was old enough to know right from wrong the two nations opposing Judah would be destroyed. And the child would have a special name "Immanuel" which pointed to the fact that no matter how dire the situation was or how unfaithful we are, God's faithfulness and protecting presence remains strong.

As we look forward, we see this prophecy is ultimately fulfilled in Jesus. The situation was more severe than Isaiah's day. Sin crept into our hearts and had taken us captive and unless someone stepped in to rescue us we would have to stand face-to-face with something much more fierce than any army: God's righteous judgment and wrath against our sin. But in His mercy and grace, God has not left us to face the consequences on our own. He came down in human flesh, the true Immanuel, showing us in the fullest sense that God is with us. And He has another name, Jesus, which means "Yahweh saves", because He has come to "save his people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21). Whatever comes your way this Advent season, remember that God has already shown that He is with you through it all by providing a rescuer and redeemer, Jesus Christ.

Prayer: God, what an amazing salvation You provide for us! Our whole world might fall apart, but You remain constantly by our side. You are surely with us and You will not forsake us. Please God, help point us back to You when we get overwhelmed and discouraged by the circumstances around us.
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