The Book of Isaiah
James J. Barker


Lesson 10
THE PROPHECY OF THE VIRGIN BIRTH

Text: ISAIAH 7:1-16


INTRODUCTION:


1.     I am going to preach tonight on the virgin birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.  I normally do not preach Christmas messages in November, but we have been going through the book of Isaiah and tonight we have arrived in chapter 7.

2.     Isaiah chapters 7—12 have been called “the book of Immanuel” because of their clear prophecies concerning the Lord Jesus Christ.

3.     Isaiah 6:1 tells us that Isaiah’s vision of the pre-incarnate Christ sitting upon His throne in heaven took place “in the year that King Uzziah died.”

4.     Between chapters 6 and 7, Isaiah passes over the reign of King Jotham, and he takes up the narrative during the time of King Ahaz, the son of King Jotham (cf. Isa. 6:1; 7:1).

5.     Kings Uzziah and Jotham were good kings, but King Ahaz was a wicked king.  King Jotham’s reign was a time of relative calm, but with his wicked son Ahaz it was a terrible time of war and turmoil.  The Bible tells us that this was the judgment of God (cf. II Chron. 28:1-6, 9, etc.).

6.     At the time of Isaiah’s prophecy, Syria and Israel (referred to as “Ephraim” in Isa. 7:2) had made an unholy alliance against Judah, and they were threatening the capital city of Jerusalem (7:1, 2).

7.     Second Chronicles 28 tells us that King Pekah, the wicked king of Israel was the instrument God used to punish Judah.  This is a theme seen throughout the Bible.

8.     God’s contempt for Pekah, the wicked king of Israel, is indicated in verses 4, 5, and 9.  He doesn’t even call him by his name, but refers to him as “the son of Remaliah.”

9.     Pekah was a usurper, who murdered the king of Israel, Pekahiah, and then seized the throne (II Kings 15:25).

10. Regarding the alliance between King Pekah and Rezin, the king of Syria, God’s message to Judah, through the prophet Isaiah, was, “It shall not stand, neither shall it come to pass” (Isa. 7:3-7). 

 

I. THE REIGN OF KING AHAZ

II. THE HOUSE OF DAVID

III. THE SIGN FROM GOD

 

I. THE REIGN OF KING AHAZ (7:1)

1.     King Ahaz was not a good king (cf. II Chron. 28:1-4, 19-27).  He was not saved.  He was cowardly, superstitious, idolatrous, and hypocritical – one of the worst kings Judah ever had.

2.     Merrill Unger described King Ahaz this way: “Ahaz was of a peculiar stripe of wickedness.  At the very time he was oppressed, he continued to wrong the LORD.  He was a royal donkey in whose case divine chastisement beat no sense into his head but, rather, beat out of it what little sense that may have been there.  His spiritual idiocy is seen in his offering sacrifices to the gods of Damascus, which smote him (through Rezin), reasoning that if these gods helped his foes, they would now help him” (Unger’s Commentary on the OT, Volume 1).   

3.     Since King Ahaz did not trust in the LORD, he was terrified by the alliance of Syria and Israel (Isa. 7:2).

4.     The prophet Isaiah vividly describes faithless men like King Ahaz in 48:22 and 57:20, 21.

5.     A person can never have real peace in his heart until he knows the Lord Jesus Christ as his Saviour.

6.     Rather than seeking help from God, the faithless and worldly King Ahaz turned to the king of Assyria. 

7.     Ironically, years later when Sennacherib, another king of Assyria, invaded Judah, Ahaz’s son, King Hezekiah said, “With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God to help us, and to fight our battles.”   

8.     The Bible says, “And the people rested themselves upon the words of Hezekiah king of Judah” (II Chron. 32:8).  King Hezekiah encouraged the people of Judah, and told them that the LORD their God would fight their battles.  But Hezekiah’s faithless father Ahaz turned to the heathen Assyrians for help (cf. II Kings 16:7).

9.     But God in His mercy and His grace was patient with wicked King Ahaz, and in spite of his faithlessness He sent the prophet Isaiah and his son Shear-jashub (“A remnant shall return”) to meet him and to encourage him (Isa. 7:2-9).

10. The LORD declared that within a period of 65 years, Ephraim’s power would be broken (Isa. 7:8).   There would no longer be a northern kingdom of Israel.  Eventually, this area would be populated by a people called the “Samaritans,” a people part-Jewish and part-heathen, who were hostile to the Jews.

 

II. THE HOUSE OF DAVID (7:13)

1.     The prophecy of the virgin birth of Christ was given to the “house of David” (Isa. 7:13).

2.     “The house of David” represents the lineage of King David, the people of Judah (including their capital city of Jerusalem – Isa. 7:2), and the Davidic Covenant, which promised that the Messiah would come from the house of David (cf. Isa. 9:6, 7).

3.     There is some irony in Isaiah 7:2 because King David conquered and subdued the Syrians (II Samuel 8, 9), but now his descendant King Ahaz was terrified of them.

4.     “Vex” in Isaiah 7:6 means “terrorize.”  There has been terrorism in the Middle East for a long time! Syria and Israel wanted to remove King Ahaz and replace him with a “puppet” king, a certain “son of Tabeal” (7:6).

5.     This could not happen because God had already promised that the Messiah would come from the house of David (cf. II Samuel 7; Psalm 89).  The Messianic line could not be broken.

6.     Our Lord said in John 10:35, “The Scripture cannot be broken.”

7.     That is why God said, “It shall not stand, neither shall it come to pass” (Isa. 7:7).

8.     God’s promises must be fulfilled.  Proverbs 21:30 says, “There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the LORD.”

 

III. THE SIGN FROM GOD (7:10, 11)

1.     God graciously offered King Ahaz a sign (7:10, 11), but King Ahaz refused (7:12).

2.     Ahaz’s answer sounds pious but in fact he was hypocritical.  In reality he was seeking help from Assyria and he did not want any assistance from the LORD (7:12).

3.     Ahaz’s real motive in refusing the sign was his resolve to not do God’s will.  His mind was made up.  He would rather trust in the military strength of the Assyrian army than trust in the LORD.

4.     There are many people like that today.  They are trusting in military strength and diplomacy and alliances with other nations and the UN, rather than trusting in God.

5.     King Ahaz’s pretense of piety did not fool the prophet Isaiah.  Isaiah responded by saying, “Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also?” (7:13).

6.     Sinners weary God.  Isaiah 43:24 says, “Thou hast wearied me with thine iniquities” (cf. Isa. 1:12-14).

7.     We preachers grow weary of the misbehavior of sinners (and some church members).  But what must God think?

8.     This sign to the “house of David” (7:13) extends beyond the days of King Ahaz (cf. Matt. 1:18-25; Luke 1:31-35).

9.     An outstanding feature of OT prophecies is that they connect events chronologically separated (cf. I Peter 1:10-12).

 

CONCLUSION:

1.     King Ahaz, by his stubborn unbelief, had forfeited an immediate sign.   Besides, an immediate sign would not have benefited Ahaz any way since he already had his heart set on aligning himself with Assyria.   King Ahaz did not want the LORD’s help. 

2.     The sign of Immanuel (“God with us”) being born to a virgin was proof for King Ahaz that his house and the nation of Judah would survive.

3.     It also proved to Ahaz the LORD’s omnipotence to protect and deliver His people.

4.     Furthermore, it verifies for us that the Bible is the very Word of God.



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