Chapter 7 of Isaiah opens with a message to king Ahaz. In Israel at this time, as in most times, there was war and rumors of war. Ahaz’s heart was troubled, for he feared the loss of his power and wealth.
Isaiah 7:1-2 (HCSB) This took place during the reign of Ahaz, son of Jotham, son of Uzziah king of Judah: Rezin king of Aram, along with Pekah, son of Remaliah, king of Israel, waged war against Jerusalem, but he could not succeed. When it became known to the house of David that Aram had occupied Ephraim, the heart of Ahaz and the hearts of his people trembled like trees of a forest shaking in the wind.
The pagan king of Aram and his ally, the king of the northern kingdom of Israel took Ephraim but were unable to conquer Jerusalem. When Ahaz heard that Ephraim had fallen, “the heart of Ahaz and the hearts of his people trembled like trees of a forest shaking in the wind.” What a word picture we have, especially this time of year, when the wind blows and the trees shake, and the leaves fall. In this world, we will have trouble, but fear not – Christ has overcome the world! Our flesh may shake in fear, but we belong to a kingdom that cannot be shaken: Hebrews 12:27-29 (HCSB) “This expression, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what is not shaken might remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us hold on to grace. By it, we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.”
Beginning in verse 3, YHWH tells Isaiah what to say to Ahaz. Isaiah 7:4-6 (HCSB) Say to him: Calm down and be quiet. Don’t be afraid or cowardly because of these two smoldering stubs of firebrands, the fierce anger of Rezin and Aram, and the son of Remaliah. For Aram, along with Ephraim and the son of Remaliah, has plotted harm against you. They say, ‘Let us go up against Judah, terrorize it, and conquer it for ourselves. Then we can install Tabeel’s son as king in it.’”
God, Who is Lord of all, tells weak-in-knees Ahaz to not fear these raging kings that wage war against him; comparing them to “smoldering stubs of firebrands.” What a contrast with God Himself, Who is a consuming fire! YHWH reveals what was planned – terrorize the southern kingdom, conquer it, and install their stooge as king. If your kingdom is of this world, madmen such as these will come and steal and destroy and you should fear. If your kingdom is in Christ, these madmen may kill the body but they cannot kill the soul – you are secure in Christ Jesus!
Isaiah 7:7-9 (HCSB) This is what the Lord GOD says: It will not happen; it will not occur. The head of Aram is Damascus, the head of Damascus is Rezin (within 65 years Ephraim will be too shattered to be a people), the head of Ephraim is Samaria, and the head of Samaria is the son of Remaliah. If you do not stand firm in your faith, then you will not stand at all.
See what YHWH tells Ahaz – these raging madmen will fail. Judah will not fall. He also reveals that the king of the northern kingdom is connected to the pagan nations, not connected to Him. In the light of this enormous conspiracy against Judah, YHWH tells Ahaz that he will fail if he is not firm in his faith. In other words, trust in God and not in chariots and horses. So it for us – the Lord our God is our strong tower of refuge, the ruler of the kingdom that cannot be shaken.
When your world is shaking, look to Christ!