I remind my young son every day how much I love him. Over the past months, I’d noticed he’d been worried and sad. Like many kids his age, he was weighed down by the news of school shootings, riots, a pandemic, and political tensions. If I’m being honest, I was also deeply afraid. But I reminded my son often, “Kingston, you are so loved. We are safe. God is with us in this—even if you can’t feel it.” My son, like many of us, has a difficult time believing this. The world is heavy—where is hope?
In Isaiah 7:10–14, we find a frightened King Ahaz in the midst of impending political danger and strife. Enemies are closing in on the nation of Judah, and the need to look elsewhere for rescue and reprieve has welled up in Ahaz’s wayward heart. The king knew God’s law, but he didn’t trust in it. Where God sought to offer safety, Ahaz was ruled by idolatry, even to the point of sacrificing his son (2 Kings 16). God made it clear what this meant for Judah—if Ahaz didn’t listen to his instructions and take heed, destruction was inevitable (Isa. 10–11).
God’s relentless pursuit of the king of Judah was not only for Ahaz’s repentance but for the sake of his entire people’s salvation, just as Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, and ascension are for us. Ahaz’s eyes were distracted by the temporary, while eternal perspective was knocking at his door. But just as God’s grace continues in our unfaithfulness, even in Ahaz’s contention and rejection of God’s power and presence, Isaiah gives him a sign: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isa. 7:14, ESV).
A great salvation will arrive through the birth of Jesus. Hope is now here (Matt. 1:20–22). God is with us, in the midst of our turmoil and often treacherous conditions. He has come down to offer eternal hope in our momentary afflictions. He asks us to listen and believe and helps us do this in our weakness and unbelief.
When my son was afraid, I was relentless in the pursuit of his heart, much like God is with ours. I needed my son to know that fear didn’t have to rule us but the hope of Christ could. In a season where many of us are tender to the reality of doubt and fear, Jesus’ love relentlessly abounds for his people. He is the rescue and the ransom for the lives of many, promising that “as a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you” (Isa. 66:13). He is our great signpost—a king gifting us life in exchange for his death. Today, don’t harden your heart like Ahaz, but instead know that God’s power is in you, his presence is with you, and his promise is over you.
Alexandra Hoover is a wife, mother of three, speaker, ministry leader and best selling author of Eyes Up: How to Trust God's Heart by Tracing His Hand.
This article is part of The Eternal King Arrives, a 4-week devotional to help individuals, small groups, and families journey through the 2023 Advent season . Learn more about this special issue that can be used Advent, or any time of year at http://orderct.com/advent.
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