"And Yahweh said to Isaiah, 'Go out to meet Ahaz, you and Shear-jashub your son, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool on the highway to the Washer’s Field. And say to him, 'Be careful, be quiet, do not fear, and do not let your heart be faint because of these two smouldering stumps of firebrands, at the fierce anger of Rezin and Syria and the son of Remaliah.'" - Isaiah 7:3-4
It is 734 bc, and Assyria is threatening Syria and Israel, who are in turn threatening Judah. Ahaz, the king of Judah and a descendant of David, is contemplating an alliance with Assyria. In preparation for the expected siege of Jerusalem by Syria and Israel, Ahaz visits the Gihon spring's upper pool to examine Jerusalem's water supply. Here, the prophet Isaiah, at God's direction, meets him. Isaiah urges Ahaz to trust in the God of Israel, not in Tiglath-pileser III, the king of Assyria. If Ahaz chooses the human solution, alliance with Assyria, Judah will suffer greatly. Ahaz's faith is being tested in this crisis moment.
There are some very important life lessons here: (1) we will face crises in our lives, as Ahaz and Judah do here; (2) in those crises, we may turn to God or to a human solution; (3) in the midst of crises, God wants us to remember his covenant promises; and (4) we are to be calm, careful, and quiet in moments of crisis.
Father, there are some things that worry me right now, that tend to make me afraid. I am worried about getting the Covid jab, when it is not fully tested. I am worried about the rise of China and militant Islam and the downfall of Western civilisation. I am worried about governmental tyranny and loss of freedom in the West, including New Zealand. I am worried about Critical Race Theory and the agenda of the intelligentsia. I am worried about the military preparedness of the U.S. and her allies in the Pacific region. I am worried about the moral decline of New Zealand, the United States, and other countries. Fear about these things could debilitate me.
But Lord, I want to turn to you. I don't want my heart to shake as the trees of the forest shake before the wind (v. 1). Help me to be careful and quiet. May I not fear. May my heart not be faint (v. 4). You have made clear promises to us as believers. Your covenant promises are as sure as the ground we stand on. Jesus, the Messiah, has come, and he will come again. He will fulfil all the promises of the Davidic covenant. Increase my faith in you and your word, Father. May I have the faith of David and Isaiah:
"You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts (בָּטוּחַ) in you. Trust (בטח) in Yahweh forever, for Yah Yahweh is an everlasting rock." - Isaiah 26:3-4
"For thus said Lord Yahweh, the Holy One of Israel, In returning (שׁוּבָה) and rest (נַ֫חַת) you shall be saved. In quietness (שׁקט) and in trust (בִּטְחָה) shall be your strength. But you were unwilling…." - Isaiah 30:15
"Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of Yahweh our God." - Psalm 20:7
"Yahweh is my strength and my shield. In him my heart trusts, and I am helped. My heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him." - Psalm 28:7
"I trust in you, Yahweh. I say, You are my God. My times are in your hand. Rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors!" - Psalm 31:14-15
"When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust. I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?" - Psalm 56:3-4
"For the righteous will never be moved. He will be remembered forever. He is not afraid of bad news. His heart is firm, trusting in Yahweh. His heart is steady. He will not be afraid, until he looks in triumph on his adversaries." - Psalm 112:6-8
"And [Jesus] said to [the disciples], Why are you afraid, little-faiths (ὀλιγόπιστοι)? Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm." - Matthew 8:26
Father, be with every believer who needs your help today, especially in Afghanistan. May they remember the principle of faith. May they be still and trust in you. Provide protection for them. Please calm the Taliban and help them to institute a just government. May they allow basic religious freedom for Christians, Lord. Give them good leadership that will maintain discipline among their ranks, so that their fighters don't get out of control and go on a rampage. Stop the activities of terrorists, Father. Bring their violence upon their own heads. Be with the peace-loving people of Afghanistan, and provide basic security for them. Thank you, Father, that we can cast all our cares upon you. May we be strong in faith today, Lord. In Jesus' name, amen.
- Jeff Coleman