God Himself Gave The Sign – The Virgin Bore A Child
10 Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, 11 “Ask the Lord your God for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights.”
12 But Ahaz said, “I will not ask; I will not put the Lord to the test.”
13 Then Isaiah said, “Hear now, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of humans? Will you try the patience of my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. 15 He will be eating curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, 16 for before the boy knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, the land of the two kings you dread will be laid waste.
Select the Sign
In one of the most stunning passages of scripture, the Lord God Almighty asks king Ahab to choose a sign. Anything the king desires will be done – nothing is off-limits. What a wonderful opportunity! Then, the most evil of all kings, confronted by the Lord God Almighty, quotes scripture at God:
Do not put the Lord your God to the test as you did at Massah.
If the Lord asks you to do something, you do it. Isaiah confirms that this response tries the patience of God. Ahaz just doesn’t get it. But God, in a wonderful turn of events, provides the most impossible of signs – the virgin shall be with child.
The Perfect Prophecy
Simple biology would dictate, especially given the scientific methods at that time, that it would be impossible for the virgin to give birth to a child. But this gave God the opportunity to do something wonderful – to prophesy about His Son, Jesus Christ, who was to be named Immanuel (which means “God with us”). Not only is He born because the Holy Spirit came upon His mother, He would be without sin. God provided the perfect sacrifice for our sins, and laid the groundwork for His miracle with the simple request that the evil king Ahab give Him a sign.
Although others in scripture have asked for signs (Gideon being among the most famous, but let us also not forget the request of Abraham’s servant when seeking a bride for Issac…), we are to trust in the Lord God Almighty. He will certainly do all that He says He will do, because His character is such that He cannot lie. And God will certainly fulfill any promise that He makes.
Notice the difference in the way that people respond to God when told news, in particular, Mary’s response to Gabriel versus Zechariah. Mary responds:
“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.“
Zechariah responds quite differently:
“How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”
Mary believes, and asks how it will be. Zechariah questions whether it can be done at all. Mary was rewarded, and Zechariah was struck mute. These are fitting responses to each person’s response. We can be assured that God will keep every promise that He makes. He has said so, and even the angel Gabriel confirms it:
A Qualifying Question
Let’s ask a question: Are we looking for signs from God that He will do what He says He will do?
A short prayer of preparation:
Father in Heaven, You have given us Your word that we may know that You have perfect character. You have given us the heavens for signs, and continue to help us by using Your word to give us guidance. Help me today to rely completely upon You, with complete abandon, for You have promised to provide anything I need to accomplish the purposes that You have assigned for me to do. Remember me this day, Father, that I would have the courage to trust in You when all circumstances point elsewhere. Give me the fortitude of character to believe, especially when the outcome of events does not match what I have preconceived in my mind. Help me to trust when there is no visible reason to do so. And may You be glorified by the faith that You are growing in me with this trust. This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.