Isaiah 7:1-17 is without question famous for its wide use around the Christmas season; because it is in this passage where we find one of the most well known prophesies of the birth of Jesus, “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” I believe God has an exquisite meal for us in this text that will meet us exactly where we are. So let me set the table for you by walking through this passage so we can enjoy this meal together.
7:1-2 – “In the days of Ahaz the son of Jotham, son of Uzziah, king of Judah, Rezin the king of Syria and Pekah the son of Remaliah the king of Israel came up to Jerusalem to wage war against it, but could not yet mount an attack against it. 2When the house of David was told, “Syria is in league with Ephraim,” the heart of Ahaz and the heart of his people shook as the trees of the forest shake before the wind.”
The stage is set. King Uzziah has died (6:1), and Ahaz, his grandson, now sits as king on the throne of Judah, and it seems like right away we become aware of a problem: two nations have made an alliance. Israel ruled by Pekah and Syria ruled by Rezin. These two allies are coming to wage war against Judah. Even though they’re not quite ready to attack Jerusalem, you get the feeling that it’s coming soon. We read in 7:2 that “Syria is in league with Ephraim, and “the heart of Ahaz and the heart of his people shook as the trees of the forest shake before the wind .” It appears that some kind of treaty has taken place between these two nations and the people living in Ephraim, implying that Pekah and Rezin have made camp within the borders of Israel.
When the word of this treaty went public, it went fast and it went everywhere, and struck fear into the hearts of Ahaz and the citizens of Judah. This is not meant to be taken as a minor detail. This “shaking” was intense because the same Hebrew word (nua) is used earlier in 6:4 referring to the temple “shaking” due to the heavenly voices crying out as they saw the Lord on His throne. This was the first time the throne of David and the city of Jerusalem had actually been in peril. The shaking was so intense that it was not only the people who shook, but the king as well. “The heart of Ahaz shook” it says. This reveals Ahaz’s underlying sin, fear due to a lack of faith in God to protect them from Rezin and Pekah. He should have trusted God because in God’s covenant with David (2 Sam. 7) Ahaz has a clear word from God about the protection covering David’s house. Yet Ahaz shook with fear at the coalition coming against him, and as he shook, so did the people.