Wednesday, February 7, 2018

EmmDev 2018-02-07 [Insights from Isaiah] Stand #2

Stand #2

Now the house of David was told, "Aram has allied itself with Ephraim"; so the hearts of Ahaz and his people were shaken, as the trees of the forest are shaken by the wind.
3 Then the LORD said to Isaiah, "Go out, you and your son Shear-Jashub, to meet Ahaz at the end of the aqueduct of the Upper Pool, on the road to the Washerman's Field. 4 Say to him, 'Be careful, keep calm and don't be afraid. Do not lose heart because of these two smouldering stubs of firewood--because of the fierce anger of Rezin and Aram and of the son of Remaliah. 5 Aram, Ephraim and Remaliah's son have plotted your ruin, saying, 6 "Let us invade Judah; let us tear it apart and divide it among ourselves, and make the son of Tabeel king over it." 7 Yet this is what the Sovereign LORD says:
"It will not take place,
it will not happen....
"      (Isaiah7:2-7)
Back in the 1600's when soldiers used muskets that required shoving some gunpowder and a metal ball-bullet into the the barrel of the musket, Oliver Cromwell was reported to have said to his troops: "Put your trust in God, my boys, and keep your powder dry!"

As we noted yesterday, Ahaz was between a rock and a hard place. Assyria (the "bear") on one side and Aram-Ephraim (the "hyenas") on the other. (Ephraim is another name for the Northern Kingdom).

Ahaz has heard the rumours: "Aram has allied with Ephraim." He heads out to inspect the aqueduct that supplied water for the city as this water would keep them alive during a siege. On one hand, this is good responsible leadership - he's keeping his powder dry.

But he has forgotten to trust God.

God sends Isaiah to talk to Ahaz. His instruction has an unusual addition. "Make sure you take your son, Shear-Jashub, with you."
Unfortunately we know very little about this son of Isaiah other than that his name means "A remnant shall return."

This is a constant promise in Isaiah - no matter how bad things are, there will always be a faithful remnant. There will always be a way out. There will always be deliverance. Just when it looks like there is no way out - God will make a way.

Isaiah stands before a worried king to put things into perspective: The hyenas are smouldering stubs - they will not last, they will not endure. They may have their plans - they've even named a successor for Ahaz - but God says: "It will not take place - It will not happen."

How often are we like Ahaz? We might even be good at keeping our powder dry, but are we forgetting to put our trust in the Lord?

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