Part 2, King Ahaz, Isaiah 7 (part 1 was on Jan 9)
Since the stories of Israel in the Old Testament are examples for us now (1 Corinthians 10:11), what’s in the story of Ahaz for us?
Ahaz, for instance, was in much the same situation we found ourselves in at the beginning of the pandemic in early 2020. People were dying and panic set in, so politicians worked frantically to dispel our fears by promising the rapid deployment of a novel medical intervention.
And intervention for Ahaz came in a novel form too, in the prophet Isaiah and his son dropping by with a message from God contained in the boy’s name. How the boy ended up with a name that meant a remnant will return is unknown, but it was designed to have the same impact on Ahaz as the arrival of the promised medical intervention in late 2020: to dispel our fear with trust. Ahaz needed to trust God to remove his fear, just as we were called on to “trust the science” to remove our fear.
But trust for Ahaz was a tough call, because he’s young and he has no experience to fall back on that God will step in and save them. And many people found trusting the science a tough call in the pandemic too, when faced with a novel medication that had no record to fall back on that it would save lives either. Politicians, media, doctors, and the companies producing the medication all said it was perfectly safe and nothing to worry about, but like Ahaz, in the real world of human emotion, diving into the unknown can be truly daunting.
But God was sympathetic to Ahaz’s hesitancy. He offered Ahaz a “sign,” and of his own choosing too, and with no limits either. It could be anything “in the deepest depths or in the highest heights” (verse 11). To God, then, it didn’t matter how extreme Ahaz’s request was, so long as the lad ended up being fully convinced and comforted.
So this was how God dealt with a hesitant, doubting young man. And how different it was to what we’ve witnessed our leaders doing during the pandemic. God, for instance, didn’t unleash a string of disparaging, humiliating names for Ahaz because of his hesitancy. Nor did he try to coerce Ahaz into doing something he wasn’t ready for.
It’s a great insight into God and how he works with us often frightened and doubting humans. And it’s a great example as well, because imagine how different our world would be if we had leaders who treated us like that too (more in part 3, next Friday).