Ways Into Sunday’s Scripture from OCC
Each week during Advent, on Fridays, I will offer some ways into Sunday’s Scripture to help us grow, mature, and be formed or shaped spiritually.
- Sunday’s Scripture
- An introduction to the text
- THEOLOGY – a theological question to get us thinking beyond the surface
- VISUAL ART – a piece of visual art to mediate on
- MUSIC – a musical interpretation of the text or a piece that invokes the meaning of the tex
Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, “Ask the Lord your God for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights.”
But Ahaz said, “I will not ask; I will not put the Lord to the test.”
Then Isaiah said, “Hear now, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of humans? Will you try the patience of my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. He will be eating curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, for before the boy knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, the land of the two kings you dread will be laid waste. The Lord will bring on you and on your people and on the house of your father a time unlike any since Ephraim broke away from Judah—he will bring the king of Assyria.” ~Isaiah 7:10-17
Introduction to the Text
In this passage, we see that King Ahaz has proven himself to be a disobedient and idolatrous king. His life is summarized as one who followed after false gods, worshipping them in every way and in every opportunity. He had led the Southern Kingdom down this same path. For this reason, God had passed just judgment upon Ahaz and upon Judah.
To carry out this judgment the Lord sent The Northern Kingdom in alliance with Assyria to attack Judah. Thousands were killed and many more were taken captive. If the Lord had not interceded through the prophet Obed from the Northern Kingdom, Judah may have been entirely destroyed. (2 Kings 16; 2 Chron. 28).
Now the threat of another invasion is looming over Ahaz and Judah. God reaffirms His commitment to Judah and tells Ahaz through the prophet Isaiah not to fear and have faith. The enemy’s threats are empty words and they will not come to pass.
And yet Ahaz refuses to ask God for a sign.
Isaiah tells Ahaz that, despite his refusal to ask for a sign, God is going to give him one anyway. Isaiah begins by addressing Ahaz according to his dynasty’s name: “O House of David!” (see 2 Samuel 7). From there, God issues a number of promises and threats.
- The “young woman” shall bear a son, “Immanuel” (“God is with us”) (verse 14).
- The child shall eat curds and honey by the time he knows how to refuse evil and choose good (verse 15).
- Moreover, before the child knows how to refuse evil and choose good, the land of Ahaz’s two enemies will be deserted (verse 16).
- God will bring upon Ahaz, his dynasty, and his people the power of the king of Assyria.
This passage puts a different spin on asking for a “sign“. Here it is the Lord, who tells King Ahaz to ask for a sign. And Ahaz refuses, and does so, in “spiritual” language – “I will not put the Lord to the test.” Which is another way of pushing God away and sounding spiritual doing it. Are there ways that we do something similar?
A stone relief sculpture, 1220-1240, on the exterior of the Cathédrale d’Amiens. It depicts Isaiah prophesying the Adoration or coming glory of Christ (Isaiah wearing cap, seated, indicating city representing Bethlehem or Jerusalem).
Here is a recording of one of my favourite Advent songs: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel Sung by The Choral Scholars of Arundel Cathedral.
And for those of you who are thinking that is way too traditional… I give you William Shatner’s version!
SOMETHING FUN / CREATIVE
There are some advertisers that come up with some creative advertising [I do not necessarily endorse any of these products / companies]. Enjoy.