“Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven.” But Ahaz said, “I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test.” Then he said, “Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary men, that you weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Isa. 7:11–14 (NIV)
Heavenly Father, what an extravagantly generous God you are. This Scripture highlights the magnificence of your love against the backdrop of our stubborn unbelief. We praise you for your relentless commitment to bless unworthy, unbelieving, ungrateful people, like us. Truly, Advent is the arrival of irrepressible, limitless, transforming grace.
This familiar passage was written during a time of local and international crisis, and King Ahaz had every opportunity to repent and rely on you. You sent Isaiah with words of wisdom and hope. But he refused your great offer of deliverance. Feigning piety, King Ahaz remained addicted to his illusion of control and competence.
As we read this story, we own how much we’re like King Ahaz. Often, we acknowledge you with our lips, but on the inside, we trust more in the insufficiency of self-sufficiency, or on any of a number of worthless idols and wanna-be-saviors. Father, we grieve our unbelief and lack of trust in you. You’ve never lied to your people. You’re only and always faithful, kind, and good.
That’s why the promise of “Immanuel” in this passage is so precious to us. By sending Jesus—our Immanuel, to us, you’ve proven yourself to be the God who isn’t only with us, but the God who is so very much for us. Your love for us in the gospel isn’t just unconditional; it’s contra-conditional, for you’ve met every condition necessary to redeem us, rejoice in us, and restore us fully to the image of Jesus.
Hallelujah! Mercy without measure and grace without limit; love beyond imagining and peace surpassing understanding… such are the riches of the gospel.
In this current Advent season, we purpose to rely on you for wisdom from above and grace for the moment, for all the little and big challenges. So very Amen we pray, in the trustworthy and triumphant name of Jesus