Stories from the Old Testament for coping with 2023 

Part 5, King Ahaz, Isaiah 7 (Part 4, January 27)

Youth was not on the side of King Ahaz. He was 20 years old, facing a terrifying threat to himself and his entire nation – much like the global threat of a highly contagious virus that we’ve experienced. And he fell to pieces. He was totally consumed by fear, so much so he couldn’t think of any solution, including even turning to God. 

But God turned to him. Which I’ve wondered about, because why doesn’t God intervene with our political leaders too? Or is it that what God did with Ahaz was meant for our leaders as well? It’s there in Scripture for them to read, and all they need do to see if it works for them is – well, try it. And why not? Who knows, something quite spectacular might happen, because God likes spectacular, as we see in this story. 

But God’s being very gentle with Ahaz to begin with, by getting his message to Ahaz through youngsters and their names. A nice touch with Ahaz being a young man himself. So the first youngster’s name meant A Remnant will Return, to reassure Ahaz his nation would not be destroyed, and the name of the second youngster was God with us, to reassure Ahaz he wasn’t alone. 

But it was more than that, because with this second youngster God included a promise, “that the land of the two kings you dread will be laid waste,” Isaiah 7:16. It would be solid proof that God was with them, because the problem would be solved without any of them having to lift a finger. 

To back that promise up God sends a third little boy to Ahaz, Isaiah’s second son, a lad called Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz (Isaiah 8:1-4). The boy’s name meant Quick to the plunder, swift to the spoil, and it too contained a promise, that “Before the boy knows how to say ‘My father’ or ‘My mother,’ the wealth of Damascus and the plunder of Samaria will be carried away by the king of Assyria.” Problem solved, Ahaz. The mighty power of Assyria will swoop down on these two kings threatening you, and strip both their nations, Israel and Syria, of all their wealth so they will no longer be any threat to you. 

So that’s three little boys now, whose names all clearly meant that Ahaz had nothing to fear. The key question now was, “Would Ahaz believe it?” – because there was still that nagging warning back in Isaiah 7:9, that “If you do not stand firm in your faith, Ahaz, you will not stand at all.” 

(continues Feb 10) 

One thought on “Stories from the Old Testament for coping with 2023 

  1. It’s interesting how the names of the three little boys had relevant meaning to the work of God in the nation of Israel during the time King Ahaz. These contained both a warning and a promise.

    Throughout the bible from Genesis to Revelation we see this same theme played out—first the warning, then the promise. …Warning—promise…warning—promise…warning—promise… infinitum….. It’s amazing how patience God is with humankind no matter how low they fall. And no matter how hopeless everything seems in the world today, in God there is hope after all…because after the warning…there comes the promise…


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