Advent 2019  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  26:34
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Isaiah prophesied to King Ahaz in 732 BC. The virgin will conceive…

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Our Series of Messages this Advent Season is Called “Away in A Manger”. We are looking at the topics of Hope, Love, Peace & Joy. Each week we meet another historical character from the Bible. This week we are introduced to Isaiah.


Isaiah’s name means “Yahweh is Salvation” And this is the message that he delivered to the nation of Israel.
Isaiah was the historiographer for King Uzziah of Judah. This means that he was a details person, his whole job was to record the acts of the King. But everything in Isaiah’s life changed in 740 BC. King Uzziah died, and God called Isaiah to be a prophet.
Isaiah 6:1 HCSB
1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a high and lofty throne, and His robe filled the temple.
This time in Judah’s history was one of FInancial Prosperity and spiritual depravity. The Kingdom has long been divided into 2 Kingdoms. Isiaiah lived in Jerusalem, which was the capital city of the Southern Kingdom, called Judah.
One commentator said of Isaiah that he had is heads in the clouds and his feet on the ground. What he means is that Isaiah saw things from God’s point of view, yet he was firmly aware of what was going on in the world around him.
The book of Isaiah spans 60 years of ministry. Early Church tradition has Isaiah dying a martyrs death, before the Babylonian exile takes place. This means that the final 16 chapters of Isaiah, which encompass Babylons defeat of Judah were prophetic since he was dead when they occured.
Isaiah 1:1 HCSB
1 The vision concerning Judah and Jerusalem that Isaiah son of Amoz saw during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.
Isaiah’s ministry as a prophet saw times where God delivered the nation from certain defeat, but also a time where the exile and desctruction of a nation was prophesied. This means that there is hope throughout the book. Even through hard time are coming, a promised Messiah will one day rescue and redeem the people of Israel
Today’s message focusses on Isaiah’s minstry during the reign of King Ahaz.
2 Chronicles 28:1–4 HCSB
1 Ahaz was 20 years old when he became king and reigned 16 years in Jerusalem. He did not do what was right in the Lord’s sight like his ancestor David, 2 for he walked in the ways of the kings of Israel and made cast images of the Baals. 3 He burned incense in the Valley of Hinnom and burned his children in the fire, imitating the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had dispossessed before the Israelites. 4 He sacrificed and burned incense on the high places, on the hills, and under every green tree.

King Ahaz of Judah

Ahaz became King was he was just 20 years old. He ruled for 16 years. The Bible records Ahaz as an evil, wicked and iolatrous ruler. Although Ahaz ruled at a time of economic prosperity, it was quickly becoming a time of national instability.
The instability was caused by the terrifying expansion of the Assyrian Empire.


At the time of King Ahaz’s rule, Assyria was quickly becoming a super power in the Middle East.
Tiglath-Pileser III had come to power, and completey revolutionized military. It used to be that Kings relied on their citizens availability to mount campaigns. If it was farming season, the campaign would wait until after the harvest.
Tiglath-Pileser III changed all that by introducing the concept of a professional army. These soldiers could go to war no matter the time of the year. They were also furnished with superior weapons, superiour training and matching armour.
When Tiglath-Pileser III (sometimes called Pul) took his army to battle, they lined up in formation. This was new. They also had incredible engineers who could build weapons of war like seige ramps.
A pervasive military tactic of the Assyrians was terror.
A common boast of Assyrian Kings was, “I destroyed, I devestated, and burned with fire” those cities, towns and regions which dared to resist the Assyrian rule. - from https://www.ancient.eu/Assyrian_Warfare/
The Assyrian Empire was growing throughout the region, and a plan was devised by two neighboring Kingdoms to stand up to Assyria.

Aram & the Northern Kingdom of Israel

King Rezin of Aram and King Pekah of Israel wanted to stand up to Assyria. Together they formed a coalition. This coalition first action was to wage ware against Jerusalem. Why? They wanted to defeat Jerusalem, put a puppet King on the throne, and then include Jerusalem’s army in their coalition against Assyria.
It is at this point in history that God speaks to Ahaz through the prophet Isaiah. Ahaz is concerned, agitated, and preparing for war. He is at the end of the conduit, but the upper pool when Isaiah meets him with this word from God.
Isaiah 7:4–9 HCSB
4 Say to him: Calm down and be quiet. Don’t be afraid or cowardly because of these two smoldering stubs of firebrands, the fierce anger of Rezin and Aram, and the son of Remaliah. 5 For Aram, along with Ephraim and the son of Remaliah, has plotted harm against you. They say, 6 ‘Let us go up against Judah, terrorize it, and conquer it for ourselves. Then we can install Tabeel’s son as king in it.’ ” 7 This is what the Lord God says: It will not happen; it will not occur. 8 The head of Aram is Damascus, the head of Damascus is Rezin (within 65 years Ephraim will be too shattered to be a people), 9 the head of Ephraim is Samaria, and the head of Samaria is the son of Remaliah. If you do not stand firm in your faith, then you will not stand at all.
God has spoken, but he will speak once again. He will offer a sign to Ahaz, a proof, so that Ahaz can calm down, and rest in the hope of God’s promise of deliverance.
Isaiah 7:10–12 HCSB
10 Then the Lord spoke again to Ahaz: 11 “Ask for a sign from the Lord your God—from the depths of Sheol to the heights of heaven.” 12 But Ahaz replied, “I will not ask. I will not test the Lord.”
Ahaz sound religious, but he is not at all honoring God with his speech. If God tells you to ask for a sign, then asking for a sign is not testing God, it is obeying God. Ahaz refuses to obey. And a sign is given by God to Ahaz.
Isaiah 7:13–16 HCSB
13 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? 14 Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive, have a son, and name him Immanuel. 15 By the time he learns to reject what is bad and choose what is good, he will be eating butter and honey. 16 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 virgin will conceive, have a son, and name him Immanuel

When we see the word “virgin” in verse 14, we automatically assume that the virgin birth will be the big sign in Jersualem during Ahaz reign. This is not the case.
The hebrew term that is used would likely have been understood by that audience as “young woman”.
The people of Israel, after hearing the prophecy that was given to Ahaz by Isaiah would have understood it this way.
There is a young woman who has not yet given birth. When she does give birth there is a period of time from now until when the baby has grown old enough to know right from wrong. Before that period of time has elapsed, God will have delivered Jerusalem from the armies of Aram and Northern Israel.
It is a prophecy that focusses more on timing, than anything else. They were in trouble. These armies were on the way. But God was going to deliver them.
The name of the child, Immanuel, was helpful because it means that “God is With Us”. God’s deliverance from the two armies would be show that he is in fact with his people.

Jump into the Time Machine.

Lets try to imagine what comfort these words would have brought to the residents of Jerusalem. They have heard the stories of the Assyrian War Machine, and that has put some fear into their hearts. They know that King Ahaz is preparing for war against the two Armies of Northern Israel and Aram. They are fearful of that.
God speaks to them through Isaiah. These king will not be succesful against Jersualem. There will be evidence that God is with them, fighting for them.
There is hope. God has spoken and promised help.

King Ahaz decides to trust in Assyria over Yahweh.

Ahaz thinks that he is pretty clever here. For the record, he is not clever. His decisions in this matter can be traced to Jerusalems eventual downfall.
What Ahaz does is go to Assyria for help. He asks for Assyria to provide him safety against the other two Kings.
Essentially, Ahaz comes up with his own plans to save his Kingdom. He finds no comfort in Gods word, for he puts none of his trust or actions into Yahweh. He trusts in himself.
The prophecy continues
Isaiah 7:17 HCSB
17 The Lord will bring on you, your people, and the house of your father, such a time as has never been since Ephraim separated from Judah —the king of Assyria is coming.”
God’s deliverance would be short lived. Assyria is coming.

What happened?

War was waged, heavy losses were suffered, but Judah did not fall.
Within about three years (nine months for the pregnancy and two or three years until the boy would know the difference between good and evil) the alliance would be broken. It was broken in 732 b.c. when Tiglath-Pileser III destroyed Damascus. After Tiglath-Pileser had defeated Aram and put Rezin to death Ahaz went to Damascus to meet the Assyrian monarch (2 Kings 16:7–10). Ahaz liked an altar he saw in Damascus, and had a sketch of it drawn so a similar altar could be set up in Jerusalem. No wonder Isaiah and God were angry with Ahaz. Even after the alliance had been broken by Tiglath-Pileser Judah had no peace. Though Assyria did not defeat Judah, she had to pay Assyria a heavy tribute.
-Bible Knowledge Commentary
Judah remained paying that tribute through the life of Ahaz, and his son Hezzekia faced the onslaught of the Assyrian King Sennacherib who had him “locked up like a caged bird” in Jersusalem. God miracolously delivered Hezzekiah.
Isaiah the prophet lived through all of this. He prophesies through all of this. And in Chapters 38 & 39 Isaiah foretells of the coming Babylonian army, who will be succesful in their defeat of Judah. They will be taken away as captives. They will be in a foreign land, under the reign of a foreign King.
But this is not because God is not almighty. God is using these Kingdoms to discipline his people. God will hold these Kingdoms accountable for whatever wrongs they do as well.
All hope is not lost for Judah. They are going to go through a terrible period of time, yet they can hold on to hope.
Hope in what?
Hope that God will save them. Hope that they won’t wander for ever, but one day they will be home again.
This hope endures with Judah throughout their exile. This hope stays with them, and grows to a point of expectation.
Generations hold onto Isaiah’s words.
Isaiah 9:6 HCSB
6 For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and the government will be on His shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
730 years after Isaiah spoke those words, they were spoken again. And once again they brought comfort.
For Joseph was going through the greatest trial of his life. Mary, his fiance, was found to be with chlid, and Joseph’s world must have been turning upside down. I am sure that in that moment, nothing seemed to be making sense to him.
Matthew 1:20–23 HCSB
20 But after he had considered these things, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because what has been conceived in her is by the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to name Him Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.” 22 Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: 23 See, the virgin will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and they will name Him Immanuel, which is translated “God is with us.”
The Gospel Writer Matthew has been inspired by God’s Holy Spirit to take a prophecy given to a wicked King, and show how it was ultimatly to be fulfilled by his own son.
730 years prior, Judah saw the prophecy as promise to deliver them from Ephraim and Aram. But now, the prophecy was that the son of God would be born of a virgin so that he could

Save His people from thier sins.

Jesus, came to save people. But not from the Assyrians, or the power of that day, the Romans. He has come to save us from the worst enemy of all, Sin.
Sin is what seperates us from God, both now and forever. The wages of sin are far more serious than anything else that you or I will ever face.
The Gospel, the Good News of Christianity is that your battle with sin is a battle that Jesus has already fought, and won. If you want your share in that victory, Repent of your sins, ask Jesus for his forgiveness and his righteousness. He will forgive you, he will call you holy and righteous, and he will help you to walk in faithful obedience to his way.
That Good news is our constant hope, and it is the best message of hope that we can offer to the people that we love, and that God loves.


God knows what you are up against this week. God knows what battles you are fighting. And God has sent you his message of hope.
Jesus Christ has come to save you from your sins.
You point to your problems, and you say, that is what I really need saved from. Don’t you see what I’m up against. Don’t you see how my whole world could come crashing down any moment. I’m terrified. iI’m scared. I need real help, not just help from sin.
Learn a lesson from Ahaz this morning. King Ahaz was terrified of what Ephraim and Aram could do to him and his nation. And perphaps his terror was justified. God was willing to save him, God spoke to him, God gave him a sign.
What did Ahaz do? He placed his hope in himself. He went out and trusted in Asyrian. He built an altar in the temple in Jersulam to the Assyrian God’s.
I’m not saying that you are building altars to other God’s. But what are you placing your hope in? Are you looiking to yourself for hope?

Jesus has given us the greatest sign of all.

He has shown that he has defeated sin by dying a sinners death and then rising from the dead on the the third day.
He has promised that he can save you from your sins. He has promised that you can have an abundant life. He has promised that if you follow him, he will care for you.
The troubles of this world are passing away. Yes, they hurt for a season. But they are temporary.
We can have hope, because Jesus will return. And in his return those who have trusted him will find what it is like to live without any sin, any fear, or any pain.
Revelation 21:4 HCSB
4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will no longer exist; grief, crying, and pain will exist no longer, because the previous things have passed away.
That’s what I am hoping for.
I know that there are still things that you are in the middle of right now. And I know that God has promised that you won’t be alone in those situations. God will be with you. That’s the promise that was given in Isaiah 7, and then repeated in Matthew 1.
Emmanuel has come to earth. God is with us.
In Exile, Israel prayed, they put their hope in the promise that a redeemer was coming to save Israel.
They were hoping in God’s promise of Emanuel.
We join them in that that hope today. And we look forward to the coming reign of Emanuel when Jesus shall come again. We can join in with the rejoiceing, for Jesus has come to save his people, he he will come again to bring us into an eternity where sin, death, grief and pain will be no more.
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