In this reading, King Ahaz and the people he leads are terrified. Two nations have become allies and are planning to mount an attack on Jerusalem. Through the prophet, God promises to protect them. In fact, Ahaz should ask God for a sign to validate this promise and to set his heart at ease. Ahaz is reluctant to ask for a sign, but God gives one anyway. I imagine Isaiah rolling his eyes and heaving a big sigh as he says, “You, O house of David, are exhausting! Just ask!”
I wonder why Ahaz doesn’t want to ask for a sign. Is it because he thinks it’s not his place? Is it because he’s afraid God will not come through with a sign? Is it because he doesn’t trust the promise?
Think of a situation in your life or in the world that has you terrified. Have you asked God for a sign that might bring you a sense of peace? Why or why not? For what kind of sign would you be looking? Notice that the sign God gives is a child named Immanuel, which means “God with us.” Generations later, God would send another child as a sign of God-with-us. Through Jesus, God came near and entered into the human experience. What a sign of love!
In prayer, offer your deepest fears and ask for a sign of God’s steadfast presence and faithfulness.