Why this scripture encourages me…
LOVE is the theme for the fourth week in the season of Advent. Pastor Abel at Our Father Lutheran Church preached on the text from Isaiah. He began by asking the question: Have you ever asked God for a sign?
The text from Isaiah recounts the story of King Ahaz who God gave permission to ask for a sign. Ahaz was filled with terror that Judah was about to be invaded by the kingdoms of Israel and Syria. These two kingdoms wanted to invade Judah in order to build an army capable of going up against the Assyrians. Unbeknownst to them, Ahaz had already begun an alliance with the Assyrians. God instructed Isaiah to go to Ahaz and assure him that Israel and Syria were “two smoldering stumps” that he need not worry about. They would not prevail. He did not need an alliance with the Assyrians. To prove this, God instructed Isaiah to tell Ahaz he could ask for a sign: “as deep as Sheol or as high as heaven” (Isaiah 7:11). Ahaz refused, not out of reverence for God as he proclaimed, but because he trusted more in himself and the alliance he had formed with Assyria. Because of sin, we too can seek our significance in something other than God, just as Ahaz did. We can trust more in our own accomplishments, health, wealth, children, politics, etc., than we trust in God.
Romans 8:28 tells us that “for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Yet we doubt this proclamation. JESUS IS OUR SIGN THAT WE CAN TRUST IT! The Manger – The Cross – The Empty tomb proclaim it. The Bible contains many examples of God coming down to us: in the Garden, at the burning bush, throughout the exodus, in the temple, in the manger and throughout the ministry of Jesus, God was with us! He is with us still, indwelling all believers who receive His Holy Spirit. He does this because He loves us!
If we want to ask God for a sign we need to consider our motivation. Is it a lack of trust in ourselves or Him? Or is it because we desire to be obedient to Him, our King?