Isaiah 7:1-9 When Fear Rules

Because Isaiah saw the Holiness of God he then realized how big of a sinner he was and that he had not reason to be in the presence of God. God then touched Isaiah removing his sin and guilt something Isaiah could not have done on his own accord. It was because of the love and grace of God that Isaiah was willing to serve God willingly. Isaiah served out of love for God’s grace not in an effort to win Gods love or grace.

Isaiah accepted his assignment from God even though it would not be met with positive results and God is leaving us here on this earth with the assignment of going and telling others about the free gift of Jesus Christ. Some of Jesus final words are found in Matthew twenty eight where He tells us to go into the entire world and tell people that He died for them.  It will not be easy, it will not be popular but we have the responsibility to tell and teach others.

War is getting ready to break out because God is punishing the people for continuing to ignore Him. God’s people are divided into two kingdoms, Israel to the North and Judah to the south.  Syria and Israel want Judah to join the alliance against the Assyrians to try and stop them from destroying them. The two Kings are mad at King Ahaz for not joining their alliance and so they are going to attack him and then set up another King to take his place. What they do not know is that King Ahaz has already made a treaty with the Assyrians to keep them from invading Judah. Although Ahaz is not a king who is following after God, God sends Isaiah to Ahaz to tell him about what is going to come and basically how those kings will not succeed when they attack Judah together.

King Ahaz had many things going on and the threat of war was real and it would be easy for him to have fear. Fear an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger. We all face fears from time to time and so we must know what we must do when these emotions come upon us. The advice God gives King Ahaz is good advice and encouragement for us all because we will all face situations in our lives that can cause us to fear the unknown. (For more about  King Ahaz see 2 Chronicles 28 and 2 Kings 16)

Isaiah 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. When the house of David was told, “Syria is in league with[a] Ephraim,” the heart of Ahaz[b] and the heart of his people shook as the trees of the forest shake before the wind.

1)   Fear can cause undue physical stress

“The Heart of Ahaz and the heart of the people shook as trees in the wind.” It is easy to say that we should not be ruled by fear but most of us allow fear to rule us because we focus on minds on the wrong things. The King and the people heard about the attacks to come and they knew that they were outnumbered by two armies and so doom was on the horizon and there was nothing physically they could do to stop what was going to take place.

Ahaz the King and the people had their minds in the wrong place because they were focused on the situation and not on the true God. When we focus on our situations in life rather than looking to the God of the universe it causes fear to rule in our hearts and it causes many health problems as well. Sixty diseases are known to be caused by worry and fear. (None of these diseases S.I. McMillan)  The people shook like trees in the wind because of their fear and stress of what could happen. But God tells us that we do not have to live like that if we stay focused on Him.

Isaiah 26:3 You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.

If you are not at peace the first thing you need to do is find out where you are placing your thoughts and then where you are placing your trust.  Philippians 4:8 Tells us to think about what is true and most people have fears that are about things that will never take place. If you allow fear to rule you then the physical toll on your body will eventually show and cause all sorts of undue stress that could have been avoided.

“…proud people want to control every situation and they experience anxiety when they cannot. Proud people think that whatever is not in their control is doomed to failure.” (Down but not out, Wayne A. Mack, PG. 51)

Ahaz was a proud man who was trying to control his destiny through political and physical means. He was not even looking to God for help but God sent him help because of promises of Jesus coming through the line of Judah.

Isaiah 7:3-4 And the Lord said to Isaiah, “Go out to meet Ahaz, you and Shear-jashub[c] your son, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool on the highway to the Washer’s Field. And say to him, ‘Be careful, be quiet, do not fear, and do not let your heart be faint because of these two smoldering stumps of firebrands, at the fierce anger of Rezin and Syria and the son of Remaliah.

2)   Fear can lead us to make bad decisions.

“Be careful, Be calm (quiet), and Don’t be afraid” are Gods advice to the King.  Isaiah takes his son Shear-Jashub which means “A remnant will return” which would be a message of hope for the future to king Ahaz. God tells Isaiah that King Ahaz will be by the upper pool where Ahaz was trying to secure the water supply so that their water would not be cut off by the armies.

Gods Advice to Ahaz was to Be Careful, Be Calm, and don’t be afraid is great advice for all of us. Be Careful or watch yourself because fear could cause you to not only make the wrong decision but also tempt you to sin. Fear and anxiety can lead you to sin by ignoring God by putting your trust in yourself instead of looking to God for His wisdom and His direction for your life.  Fear can also cause you to sin by having you turn to one of the many coping mechanisms we turn to calm ourselves down or to get through life. Things like food, drugs and alcohol get turned to in order for people to cope with what they are dealing with. Many people have made bad decisions out of fear or emotions and so when you are feeling the emotion of fear you need to be careful. We will see later that Ahaz turned to other gods for comfort similar to what we do when we turn to the god of drinking, eating, tobacco, and entertainment.

Be Calm or quiet because we are commanded to listen and wait on God.

Psalm 46:8-11 Come, behold the works of the Lord,  how he has brought desolations on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the chariots with fire. 10 “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” 11 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.

When fear strikes we think we have to make quick decisions because we are putting our trust in our own abilities rather than trusting in God. Have you ever heard Just don’t stand there do something? Sometimes we need to calm down and really pray and think through the decisions we need to make knowing that God is sovereign and that He will guide us. As Christians we should be known as the calmest people on the planet because our trust is in God who is the sovereign ruler of the Universe. 1 Peter 3:15 says we should be ready to give an answer for the hope that we have but we cannot give that hope to others when we are turning to the same coping mechanisms and giving into the same fears as they are. Our lives should be so different that people ask us about them and we get to tell them about our trust in God through Jesus Christ.

Do not be afraid or do not lose heart because fear is paralyzing and discouraging. Fear is paralyzing especially when you do not see life from God’s perspective because you can only see the problems and not the solutions that God can provide. When you focus only on the problems and not on God then you lose heart and you have no desire to keep going because you become very discouraged.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,  and he will make straight your paths.

Isaiah does not condemn Ahaz worship of other gods or even the fact that he offered his son in an offering to a foreign god. (2 Kings 16:1-4) Isaiah focused on Gods instruction to guide Ahaz in order to place his trust in God. I find it interesting that Isaiah did not rebuke King Ahaz because when life does not go the way you planned you do not need people bringing up all the reasons that this is happening to you but a simple message to them to place their trust in God  through Jesus Christ.  Ahaz did not trust God during his rule but Isaiah did not throw that in his face Isaiah just simply offered advice to Ahaz that putting his trust in anything but God would lead to fear. When we or other people allow fear to rule them we have to make sure that we are reminded that God is in control (on the throne) so that we will not lose heart.

Isaiah 7:5-9 Because Syria, with Ephraim and the son of Remaliah, has devised evil against you, saying, “Let us go up against Judah and terrify it, and let us conquer it[d] for ourselves, and set up the son of Tabeel as king in the midst of it,” thus says the Lord God: “‘It shall not stand,  and it shall not come to pass.For the head of Syria is Damascus, and the head of Damascus is Rezin.
And within sixty-five years Ephraim will be shattered from being a people. And the head of Ephraim is Samaria, and the head of Samaria is the son of Remaliah. If you[e] are not firm in faith, you will not be firm at all.’”

3)   Fear makes your problems bigger than they are

God calls them smoldering stick or used up fire wood. To King Ahaz these kings were a giant threat to God they were like wood that had already been burned in a fire that was just smoldering.

Blowing smoke is a term we use when people are all talk but no action. The kings were going to invade and set up their own king but they forgot that God was in charge. The kings say they were going to go up against Judah and terrorize it which means to fill with fear. Most of our news outlets are smoldering sticks that fill us with fear if we let them.  We cannot allow the world to put us in a panic by all the news and social media sites that are stirring up fear. Do not allow your family or friends to put you in a state of panic because they are not trusting God. Our problems, no matter how big we think they are, are nothing to God.

God says “Son of Remaliah” because the son was not even worth mentioning from God’s perspective. The son was of no significance to God that’s why he did not even mention his name. Two years after Isaiah talked to King Ahaz both the kings who were threatening Judah were dead. The person that is a big deal to you may not even have their name mentioned by God or they may not even be around long enough to cause you all the problems they say they are going to cause. “It will not stand, it will not come to pass” because the threat did not happen. The very threat that Ahaz was worried about did not happen and many times the things we worry about do not happen either. How many times have we worried about things and they did not even take place?

“If you do not stand firm in your faith you will fall”: What you are focusing on is where you are placing your faith. If your happiness is based on people, money or job situation then that is where you are placing your faith and all of those things can let you down. If your faith is on God then you know that you will never be let down. The choice for Ahaz and those in his court was simply to put their trust in God and not the surrounding armies or the situation. We need to view everything from God’s perspective knowing that He is going to use all these things we encounter for the good. God is not surprised by what takes place and He is not threatened by anyone and we can trust Him.

James 1:2-6 Count it all joy, my brothers,[b] when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 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 us it is not when we will face situations that can cause fear but how we will face them. John 16:33 Jesus said we will have troubles but to not fear because He already overcame the world. Fear does not have to control us because we believe in and trust in the one who died on the cross for our behalf.

Isaiah 41:10 fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you,  I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

 

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