A Study in the Word – Isaiah 7:1-25
Chapters 7-12 address the question, “Whom do you trust?” Ahaz had barely become king of Judah when a crisis arose (735 B.C.). Rezin of Aram (Syria) and Pekah of Samaria (Israel) revolted against the Assyrian Empire and sought to enlist support. Judah refused to join them, so in 734 B.C. they made a forced attempt. Their threat created fear in Judah (7:1-2).
Isaiah and Shear-jashub went to assure Ahaz. The son’s name (“A remnant shall return”) reflects Yahweh’s promise to deliver Judah (7:3), for Aram and Samaria were spent forces (7:4-6). God’s promise is plain: “It shall not stand nor shall it come to pass” (7:7). Aram’s end came in 732 B.C.; Samaria’s in 722. Within 65 years Assyria settled foreign peoples in Samaria (7:8). The lesson? Aram and Samaria will not succeed, and neither will Judah if they fail to trust God. The NIV reads, “If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all” (7:9).
The Lord commanded Ahaz to name any sign to affirm God’s promise (7:10-11). Ahaz can choose the sign, but he refuses (7:12). Why? He had already sought help by turning to Assyria! (2 Kings 16:7-9). Isaiah accuses Ahaz of acting rashly apart from God (7:13). God will take matters into His own hands and will Himself provide a sign for faith.
Trust tends to build with time and experience, so also the sign will fulfill over time (7:14-16). A woman will marry and bear a son. Before he is old enough to tell right and wrong (about two years), the crisis will be ended. Distinguish here between “us” and “you.” The child’s name will be Immanuel, “God with us,” representing those who trust God. Assyria will not become the ally of Ahaz but the terror of untrusting Judah - “you”! (7:17).
The prophecy applies both to the present threat and to the distant future. God would prove faithful soon, so there was no need to enter an unholy alliance for deliverance. The prophecy is also Messianic, projecting to the coming of Jesus based on the Immanuel fulfillment of Matthew 1:23. Deliverance in both cases requires trust in God.
God will “whistle” for instruments of judgment (7:18-19). He will “shave” Judah with the razor of shame (7:20). He provides for the remnant (7:21-22), but reduces to raw nature a society of no trust (7:23-25).
Dr. David Moore is a Baptist preacher in Pampa and an online instructor in Bible and theology for Taylor University and Nations University. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org