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2012年03月30日

“God who is with us”

Isaiah 7:10-25 “God who is with us”

 



              Today
let’s look at Isaiah 7:10 to 25. The title of today’s message is “God who is
with us. Verse 14 says, “Therefore, the Lord himself will give you a sign: The
virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him
Immanuel.” The name “Immanuel” means “God who is with us” or “God is with us”.
This is an important word in Christianity. 
We do not have to go to the shrine or temple to be with God.  The God that we believe in is always with us.
Today I would like to talk about three things about the God Immanuel.



 



I.            
Seek a sign (vs. 10-12)



First please look at verses 10 to 12.  When Ahaz heard that “Aram has allied itself
with Ephraim”, (2) Ahaz was shaken up, “as the trees of the forest are shaken
by the wind.” (2) Then God through Isaiah proclaimed, “Be careful, keep calm
and don’t be afraid.” (4) He said, “If you do not stand firm in your faith, you
will not stand at all.” (9) Ahaz didn’t make any response towards what Isaiah
said.  He wasn’t able to respond because
in his heart he was requesting more help from the huge country of Assyria than
he was depending on God. He thought he could overcome the danger by relying on
Assyria.



Therefore, the Lord proclaimed again to
Ahaz, “Ask the LORD your God for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or in
the highest heights.” (11) “A sign” (11) is a sign of proof. It is a sign of
proof that if he depends on the Lord, he will be taken care of.  God says to seek this sign. When we look at
the Bible, we will see that it isn’t very acceptable to desire such signs.



Deut. 6:16



John 20:29



It is important to believe without
seeing.  That is faith. To test the Lord
by seeking signs is not fitting for men of faith. If so, then why did the Lord
say here, “Ask the LORD your God for a sign”? (11)



This was for Ahaz.  Isaiah said to seek a sign because Ahaz was
finding it difficult to believe in God. If
 he could experience
God even a little, then he should be able to depend on the Lord more.
Therefore, God says this out of his mercy.



Ahaz answers,”I will not ask I will not
put the LORD to the test.” (12) This sounds very spiritual.  In reality it is the opposite. What he is
really saying here is, “Asking the Lord is useless. How is the Lord going to solve
such a dangerous situation? A more concrete solution is needed.” If God says, “Ask”
then faith is to obediently ask. If we reason and make excuses and do not
follow, then that is being unfaithful. 



After this King Hezekiah will appear.
Hezekiah is the son of Ahaz, but he was a very spiritual King. When God said to
him, “Seek a sign”, he did that. When he was sick on his death bed, he cried
out in a huge voice, “Remember, O LORD, how I have walked before you faithfully
and with whole hearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.”
(38:3) Then God answered his prayer and says, “I will add fifteen         years to your life.” (38:5) The sign
of this promise was that the shadow cast by the sun will go back the ten steps.
Then as it was promised, “the sunlight went back the ten steps it had gone
back.” (8) What a great encouragement this must have been for Isaiah.



John 15:24



The Lord desires that we trust in the
Lord.  By the name of the Lord, let’s
desire this boldly, and through the experiences given by desiring, we will ask
more and more of the Lord.



 



II.          
The sign from God (Vs. 13-17)



Next please look at verses 13 to 17.



Ahaz’s answer was trying the patience of
Isaiah as well as also God.  “Therefore,
the Lord himself will give” (14) him a sign. In other words Ahaz did not ask
for a sign and persistently depended on human power and plans and so from God’s
end one-sidedly God will give him a sign. 
The sign is ”The virgin will be child and will give birth to a son, and
will call him Immanuel.” (14)



This is the famous prophecy of
Immanuel.  Matthew, a disciple of our
Lord Jesus, quoted this passage. By recording the fact that Jesus was born from
a virgin, Mary, he said that Jesus was the real Messiah.



Matt. 1:22,23



However, why is the “Immanuel” prophecy
recorded here? As I mentioned a little while ago this sign was a sign that if
you depended upon God then you would be taken care of. It should be a sign that
God is going to shatter the coalition of the enemies, Ephraim and Aram. What
does it mean that he will be called “Immanuel”? (14)



It is said that from ancient times this
passage has been an extremely difficult passage. The famous English preacher,
Charles Spurgeon, said that in the Bible this passage is one of the most
difficult passages.  It is that difficult
of a passage to understand. What is so difficult is it is not clear to
understand who the virgin is that appears here and who the boy is. That is
bound to be. It is unthinkable that a virgin would become pregnant.  Therefore, it can be said that this sign will
not occur in that age. It is the most logical to interpret this as a prophecy about
the Messiah’s birth from a virgin in the course of time.



However, a prophecy speaks about the
situation that they are in and at the same time it is about something that is
to occur in the future.  Therefore, it is
usual to think that God was speaking to them in the situation that Ahaz was in
also.  Well then, what is the meaning of
this prophecy in the situation that it was spoken in?



Lots of scholars think that this virgin
does not mean a virgin that has never known a man, but means a young lady and
this is Isaiah’s wife, “the prophetess” that appears in 8:3. If that is the
case, it can be interpreted that the child that was born from this young lady
is “Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz”. (8:3) This name “Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz” (8:3) means
“quick to the plunder, swift to the spoil.” This refers to Assyria. If you
think this way, it is certainly consistent with content of the passage.



Vs. 15 to 17



“Before the boy knows enough to reject the
wrong and choose the right, the land of the two kings” (16) King Rezin of Aram
and King Pekah of Israel whom Ahaz dreaded “will be laid to waste”. (16)  Isaiah prophesized this in 735 B.C. 2 or 3
years later in 732 Assyria attacked and plundered Aram. 10 years later in 722
B.C. next Assyria attacked and plundered Israel. It happened exactly as Isaiah
prophesized here.



This is the sign. Isaiah wanted to
proclaim through the birth of “Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz” (8:3) that Ahaz, that Judah,
that the house of David would be taken care of. At the same time he wanted to
prophesize that perfect salvation is not in “Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz” (8:3) but
in the Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ who would in time be born from the mother
Mary.



This is the real salvation. For Ahaz it
was certainly a threat                 
to be attacked by Ephraim and Aram. He thought at all costs he wanted to
be saved from that so he sought the help of the northern huge nation of
Assyria. By this he thought he was secure. However, this wasn’t the real
solution.  On the surface it looked like
by asking Assyria for help that they had victory over the coalition of Aram and
Ephraim.  However, the real danger was
yet to come.  An incident in which today’s
friends are tomorrow’s enemies occurs. 
This Assyria will attack and torture them. Our solutions are always like
this.  On the surface even if it looks
like we have victory, in the next moment it is the cause of being bound hand
and foot.



Proverbs 29:25



The real solution is not in people, but in
the Lord, not in our flesh, but by the Holy Spirit. It is in God, “Immanuel”,
who was born as a man. This is the sign.



 



 



III.        
Immanuel (vs. 18-25)



              The reason why we can say that
this is the real solution is given in verses 18 to 25. Here the result of Ahaz
asking help from not God, but Assyria is recorded.  First look at verses 18 and 19.



  Vs. 18, 19



              Here Isaiah is prophesying not
only putting Assyria, but has Egypt too in the horizon. So far Judah and
Northern Israel’s history of war was with the neighboring countries a kind of
skirmish.  This next war is not on the same
level. Their opponents are huge countries. From the South is Egypt and the
North is Assyria. Egypt, “flies”, (18) and Assyria, “bees”, (18) are going to
attack Judah. 



Vs. 20



  Here the King of Assyria’s cruelty is
described.  They shaved the hair off of
living people. Such forcible shaving was considered to be a great insult.  They did such cruel things as gouging out
their eyes, and capturing and deporting them tied together by putting crooked
hooks through their tongues.



  Vs. 21, 22



              Here many citizens become prisoners
and are killed so the livestock and food will be in surplus.



  Vs. 23-25



              Because the whole land is full of
briers and thorns, no matter how much you cultivate the land, you won’t be able
to harvest any agriculture. Whether they want to or not they will have to go
out hunting.



              This is the result of Judah not seeking
help from God, but seeking human strength. If we seek help by fleshly strength
that we can see it seem like it maybe a temporary solution, but, however, in
the course of time it causes us to be in the situation where we are bound by
hand and foot.  The thing that should
save us, rather results in us being tormented. Therefore, this is not the real
solution. The real solution is “Immanuel”, God with us.



              However, it is unthinkable that a
completely Holy God would live in the midst of man. Just as light cannot
fellowship with darkness, it is unthinkable that a Holy God can fellowship with
filthy mankind. However, God did this by Jesus Christ. The Holy God was born
into this world as a human being.  A true
God and a true man became completely one in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. By
Jesus becoming Immanuel this became a reality. 
To say it more clearly, this Jesus did this by being crucified on the
cross and d
yeing for our sins, and three days later
rising again. Here is our salvation. 
This salvation is nothing like being saved from the coalition of Aram
and Ephraim or the Assyrian empire. It is salvation from Satan’s power to
thrust us into eternal damnation and salvation from the root of all evil,
sin.  It guides us from eternal
destruction to eternal life, being with God. If so, it will save us from all
the problems we have. Jesus can save us from all problems and troubles.



              There is
a famous hymn “Jesus Loves me! This I know”.



Jesus loves me! This I know,



For the Bible tells me so.



Little ones to Him belong;



They are weak, but He is strong.



*Yes, Jesus loves me!



Yes,
Jesus loves me!



Yes,
Jesus loves me!



The Bible
tells me so.



 



Jesus loves me! He who died



Heaven’s gate to open wide;



He will wash away my sin,



Let His little child come in.*



 



Jesus loves me! He will stay



Close beside me all the way;



Thou hast bled and died for me,



I will henceforth live for Thee.



              Our Lord
Jesus in order to set us free, wash away our sin and open the gates of heaven
up to us bled and died on the cross. If that is how much our Lord Jesus loves
us, what do we need to be fearful about? 
The Lord
who was
crucified on the cross and died
,  prays intercessory prayers for you. You have
nothing to fear. What you need to do is only live for him. Then you will be set
free from all your problems, fears, and uncertainties and you will gain real
peace through Him.



              Right now
at the prayer meetings we are studying the life of Joseph.  Joseph who was sold by his brothers came to
Egypt. The reason that he was successful in his master, Potiphar’s house was
because “the LORD was with Joseph”. (Genesis 39:2) “The LORD was with Joseph”
(Genesis 39:2) so no matter what he did, he prospered. 



              Also, when he was falsely charged
and put in prison too, he found favor in the prison warden’s eyes and he was
blessed by being put in charge of all the prisoners in that prison. “The LORD
was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.” (Genesis 39:23)  Even when we think we are abandoned by
everyone and in prison, the Lord is with us. If the Lord is with us, no matter
what happens, the Lord watches over us, and blesses us. This is the key to
success in our lives.



              In the Gospel of Matthew if you
look at the verses that say that the Lord is with us, then you will understand
this.



The first
time  Matt.1:23  



The last
time       28:20



The
middle         18:20



              Immanuel who saved us from our
sin, is Immanuel who answers our prayer, also who encourages in evangelism,
Immanuel who supports us is always with us.



              As for salvation from our sin,
also as for prayers, then as for evangelism, God who is with us is now too with
each and every one of us. Therefore, even if we are embracing problems, don’t
worry, don’t fret, just pray. God will be with you and give you a solution. Our
Lord Jesus as the God Emmanuel will spread out his wings and protect you from
the enemy, and save you from your troubles. Is there anyone who is worrying
about their sin? You should repent.  If
you repent, the Lord will be with you, and purify you from all evil. Are you
feeling troubles in evangelism?  Are you
distressed because no matter how many times you invite people to church, they
don’t come or they don’t seem able to believe? The God Immanuel is always with
us until the end of the world.  You “will
call him Immanuel.” (14) This is what God has given us as a sign of salvation.



 



Apply it to our lives



* Are you seeking a sign? What sign?



 



 



 



* Think about whether you have had an experience of
depending upon something else than God or an experience of depending upon God?



 



 



 



*In what area of your life are you desiring the Lord to be
with you in?  For forgiveness of sin? Or
in prayer? Or in evangelism? Or in some other area? No matter in what area, let’s
believe that the Lord is with us and pray.     



 





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