Isaiah 7:14-“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.”
Ahaz was in distress as kings from Israel and Syria attacked Jerusalem. Through Isaiah, God spoke to Ahaz. God asked him not to worry because nothing would come of the war plan and He told Ahaz to ask God for anything as a sign. Ahaz felt he could not make demands of God. God didn’t mean for Ahaz ‘to test’ rather ‘to discover’ what God would do. Ahaz was a proud man. He did not want to know whether God would help him or not. Instead, Ahaz asked the king of Assyria to help him!
The sign God gave was the famous prophecy in the Bible about the birth of Jesus the Messiah. This was about Immanuel (God with us) who would come to earth by a virgin. ‘Immanuel’ indicates the deity of Jesus (God with us) and Jesus’ identification and nearness to us (God with us).
God gave Ahaz a sign of deliverance with a time span because Jesus wasn’t even born yet. God said that before the Jesus became a child, in a few years, the kings would abandon the land being fought over because they would be crushed.
This prophecy illustrates that a prophecy may not always be fulfilled in the offing. It could happen immediately, within a short span or even years down the line. The only confirmed thing is that, it WILL happen but we don’t know God’s timing to fulfill prophecies.
This prophecy could also be thought of as a rebuke to Ahaz – if God is with us then why should he fear the enemy? God is Sovereign and all-knowing and is completely in control.
This prophecy was applicable to Ahab, the house of David and to the Jews in exile – ‘Because God is with us, a few people will come back from exile’. ‘Exile’ is when enemies take people away from their own country. Later, enemies from Babylon would destroy Judah and they would destroy its capital, Jerusalem. Then they would take the people away from there to a far country (Babylon). But a few people would come back from Babylon to Judah.
“In what sense then, is Christ God with us? Jesus is called Immanuel, or God with us, in his incarnation; God with us, by the influences of his Holy Spirit, in the holy sacrament, in the preaching of his word, in private prayer. And God with us, through every action of our life, that we begin, continue, and end in his name. He is God with us, to comfort, enlighten, protect, and defend us, in every time of temptation and trial, in the hour of death, in the day of judgment; and God with us and in us, and we with and in him, to all eternity.” (Clarke)