Isaiah 7:10 – 14
New International Version (NIV)
10 Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, 11 “Ask the Lord your God for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights.”
12 But Ahaz said, “I will not ask; I will not put the Lord to the test.”
13 Then Isaiah said, “Hear now, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of humans? Will you try the patience of my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
To encourage the king to believe that his people would be victorious in battle and the kingdom would endure, God offers to let Ahaz ask for a sign, any sign, through the prophet Isaiah. But the king refuses to put God to the test. So God gives a sign anyway that tells of the future of the Davidic kingdom—without this corrupt king in it. Ahaz sounds pious; but the Book of Kings tells us he was a spiteful unbeliever. He was trapped here. If he asked for the sign, he would be submitting to the prophet; if he did not ask, everyone would know that he did not believe. So he said, “I will not tempt Yahweh.”
Matthew tells us that Jesus’ conception and birth from a virgin is the second and ultimate fulfillment of this prophecy or sign. Another king did not want to hear a sign and ordered the death of countless infants as Mary, Joseph and the newborn fled to Egypt.
Do we sometimes avoid being receptive to signs from God? Are we keeping so busy or is our world so noisy that, even unintentionally, we may miss a wonderful gift? “Mindfulness” is a way of going about each day attuned to what God is offering us at every moment. Our sin doesn’t have to be “spite” or fear of losing kingly power; we may just be reverting back to old habits of trying to do everything on our own.
One of the things that will always stop me in my tracks is the sight of a newborn being tenderly cared for by his or her mother. It is a sign of love, renewal, hope, sustenance, provision and oh so many more of the gifts we receive from our Creator. That a young girl would be chosen by God to carry His Son, and that this would be the most important sign He would ever send His people makes me want to do more than stop in my tracks—I want to know what other signs and wonders surround me.