(Sixth in a 52 part introspective devotional series, weekly more or less, based on the Scriptures that inspired George Federick Handel to write The Messiah.)
[see the entire series here]
Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14
This verse forms a basic foundational belief for Christianity. It molds the understanding of the supernatural in our theology. Without it, most of our treasured orthodoxy crumbles.
Isaiah brings a message to the King of Judah, Ahaz. Essentially, he informs King Ahaz that God will deliver Judah from destruction and therefore Ahaz is to request a sign from God that will show Isaiah’s words to be true. Like most of today, Ahaz was too proud to actually obey and request a sign. He deferred! How curious to be granted safety and then give up the option for gratification by seeing what you actually expected. Perhaps this is still in play today.
Since Ahaz would not ask for a sign God gave a sign to him instead. It is this sign that we read of in Isaiah 7:14 “Behold a virgin shall conceive.” There is a particular strain of scholarship that implies this only referenced the immediate time of Isaiah understanding that this meant judgment before the maturation of future offspring for either Isaiah or Ahaz. While this is possible historically speaking the scope of the canon of scripture gives another and better understanding…
Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. –Matthew 1:23
And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. –Luke 1:26-27
…and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David –Luke 1:32
…he shall save his people from their sins. –Matthew 1:21
What do all the above references have in common? They all refer to Isaiah 7:14 centuries after the exile to which Isaiah prophesied about. They each refer to the miraculous conception and birth of Jesus Christ through whom the salvation of His people would be dependent upon.
Father, by the words of Your prophets You proclaimed Your plan for Your children. By the life death and resurrection of Your Son You fulfilled those prophecies. Help me to live each day with the expectancy of Isaiah, Mary, and Joseph until Your Son comes again. In His Name, AMEN.