Today’s Reading: Isa 7:1–8:22, Luke 2:22–52, Job 2:11–13
Today’s Theme: God’s Firm Word
Today’s theme is all about the firm reality of God’s words vs the lies of the enemy and the powerless words of man. It is by God’s word and especially His decrees and prophecies which are guaranteed to come to pass that our faith in God and wisdom in God will increase.
We can trust God above all and know that His word is firm and sure.
God’s word overrules
thus says the Lord GOD: “ ‘It shall not stand, and it shall not come to pass Isaiah 7:7 (ESV)
God said that the plans of the enemy will not stand and will not come to pass. This proved to be true as history records.
God’s decrees as the King, overrule and supersede all the plans and words of the enemy. While our enemy is powerful and intelligent they are no match for God the sovereign.
We can trust God’s word today which overrules the word of the enemy. 1 John 4:4.
Have firm faith
And the head of Ephraim is Samaria, and the head of Samaria is the son of Remaliah. If you are not firm in faith, you will not be firm at all.’ ” Isaiah 7:9 (ESV)
Ahaz was given a choice, trust God and His word, or the enemy and their word. One of the major themes in Isaiah is trust which is displayed through the contrast of either trusting God or the nations.
I read the following from commentator J N Oswalt which sums this up well “Unless Ahaz comes to the point where he can believe in God’s sovereignty to the extent of entrusting himself and his nation to God, he is doomed to live in the shaky, panicky condition he now experiences”
James picks this up in the New Testament. If we do not have firm faith in God then we will not be firm in our lives. In James 1:6-8 we read “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”
Firm, steady, resolute faith in God and His word will give stability and balance to our minds and lives today.
Prophecy of the virgin birth
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14 (ESV)
Some see a double prophecy here. In the immediate sense God is giving a sign to Ahaz that he would see within his lifetime that God was with them. In the next chapter this theme is developed and we see a child born, Isaiah’s own son who was named for prophetic symbolism as “Maher-shalal-hash-baz” which may point to the more immediate fulfilment of the prophecy.
However, there is so much here and later in tomorrow’s reading which points squarely and conclusively to the Messiah, the God-Man, Jesus the Christ. We read just yesterday that Jesus was born of a virgin, He had no earthly father. Also note Isaiah’s wife was neither unmarried or a virgin.
The name Immanuel can only be properly associated with Jesus as He is God with us as Matthew points out in Matthew 1:23.
Some liberals throw this out as a prophecy and say it is just about a young woman having a child. This is nonsense because that would not be a sign of anything, young women have babies all the time.
God’s prophecy here (which will be made even clearer in tomorrow’s reading) is a trustworthy word which was fulfilled by Jesus the Christ.
The Proof of Prophecy
for before the boy knows how to cry ‘My father’ or ‘My mother,’ the wealth of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria will be carried away before the king of Assyria.” Isaiah 8:4 (ESV)
One of the greatest evidences of the Bible being the inerrant word of God is the proof of prophecy. Our faith is the only one in the world that has a track record of accurately fulfilled prophecies.
God knows the end from the very beginning and actively brings His word to pass. As such, He is in the unique place to give prophecies that come to pass.
We cover this point and 4 other external proofs that prove the Bible is the inspired word of God in our documentary called The Gospel which you can view and share online here https://vimeo.com/channels/wwmfgospel
The enemy’s counsel
Take counsel together, but it will come to nothing; speak a word, but it will not stand, for God is with us. Isaiah 8:10 (ESV)
As we have read throughout the Psalms this year, the enemy may conspire against you, but do not fear, his plans will not succeed.
People may even take counsel against you, try to sideline you, speak evil of you, slander you, and gossip about you with the intention of pulling you down. If God is with you they can not ultimately succeed.
The words of devils and people are impotent. They do not have the power to do you harm or good. Their words cannot stand because God has already spoken words of life over you and the power and potency of God’s word cannot be undone.
Trust in the power of God’s decrees over your life, that they will stand up against every other word. Put your trust in what God has already said.
Say yes and amen to the word of God 2 Corinthians 1:20.
Be careful of conspiracy theories
“Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread. Isaiah 8:12 (ESV)
As a side note, do not get caught up in chasing conspiracy theories. Don’t get me wrong there are conspiracies and cover ups out there but as this verse suggests these can lead to fear and dread which is unhealthy.
I personally remember several years ago I spent time looking into all sorts of conspiracies. Some may have been true, others certainly were not but the overall feeling they left you with was uncertainty and fear.
Instead spend your time and energy focusing on God and His word where you find sure hope and salvation.
“Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.” Luke 2:29–32 (ESV)
Jesus is God’s surest fulfilment of prophecy. Like faithful Simeon and Anna we should be filled with hope and joy as we look to Jesus and see that yes God is faithful to His word and personally see that His word is fulfilled.
God gave prophecies in Isaiah and throughout the Bible that Jesus would come and gave a personal assurance to Simeon that he would see Him.
As we read through Luke’s account our faith should grow and our resolve that God backs up His word and fulfils all He has said should grow.
Jesus is the fulfilment and pinnacle of all scripture. Jesus has indeed brought revelation to all nations and glory to Israel.
After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Luke 2:46 (ESV)
A simple life lesson from the boy Jesus. We should take time to listen and should always ask questions. Rev. Taylor once said that her dad had counselled her to always be willing to learn by listening to others.
Take time to ask questions today, don’t be a know it all, be teachable and humble because this will make you wise.
Jesus was the incarnate Word, the one who gave the law in the first place, but He still asked questions. Even if you know the answer, ask questions to help you understand where people are so you can help them.
Increase in wisdom
And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man. Luke 2:52 (ESV)
Jesus increased in wisdom which means in the incarnation He laid aside his omniscience (the knowing of everything as God).
We must also increase in wisdom, this will come through God’s firm word in the Bible primarily but also through life experiences and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
And they sat with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his suffering was very great. Job 2:13 (ESV)
Sometimes the best comfort we can give a person in grief is to just be there, we don’t need to say anything. Sometimes our words can bring more pain or have no effect. True comfort is found in God’s sure word.
Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014.
Desiring God on Luke 2