|1 When Ahaz son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, was king of Judah, King Rezin of Aram and Pekah son of Remaliah king of Israel marched up to fight against Jerusalem, but they could not overpower it. |
9 The head of Ephraim is Samaria,
and the head of Samaria is only Remaliah's son.
If you do not stand firm in your faith,
you will not stand at all.' " (Isaiah7:1-9)
Smaller nations were desperately trying to make coalitions to stand against Assyria, but this often came with great moral and spiritual compromises.
Ahaz was the King of Judah (the Southern Kingdom with its capital in Jerusalem). Pekah was king of the Northern Kingdom (with its capital Samaria) and his kingdom was on its last legs - the Northern Kingdom will be defeated in about 5 years time and utterly destroyed some 10 or 15 years after these events.
But Pekah (son of Remaliah) has made an alliance with King Rezin of the Aramites and they approach Ahaz: "Join us or we attack you!"
Ahaz has three options:
- Join the alliance (with the spiritual & ethical compromises involved) and provoke the "big bear" (the Assyrians)
- Refuse to join the alliance and face their anger and vengeance. (thus having two enemies Aram-Samaria (the "hyenas")and the Assyrians ("big bear"). Have no ally but God.
- Make a deal with the Assyrians: "We'll stay out of it but leave us alone." Pacify the "big bear" and they'll protect you from the "hyenas". Again there are huge compromises involved.
In the midst of all this political wrangling Isaiah meets Ahaz to convince him to stay away from options 1 and 3.
We'll look at Isaiah's meeting in more detail tomorrow. For now, just two things stand out:
- In verse 9 Pekah isn't even referred to by name - he's just human, just the son of Remaliah. Isaiah is saying: "Don't be overwhelmed - they're just human. They're just people. Don't give them too much power.
- Sometimes we just have our faith to stand on. Isaiah is emphatic - there is no other place to stand, stand anywhere else and you will fall.
We are so easily intimidated and made miserable by people to whom we give way too much power. They're just people and they must one day answer for who they are and what they've done.
We're also so easily rattled and lose hope so easily when life shakes us - but we must trust...