Peter Barnes: Isaiah 7:1-9
(11 November 2018)
SERMON NOTES: FIRM IN THE FAITH (Isaiah 7:1-9)
It is the year 735 B.C. or thereabouts, and times are troubled.
1. The sin of fearing the world.
– 7:1-2. Israel and Syria took it into their heads to confront the super power, and to drag Judah into the war. The intention is to attack Judah, install a puppet king, and then take on Assyria. Ahaz panics – 2 Kings 16:1-4, 5-9. Calvin:
It is impossible, I acknowledge, not to fear when dangers threaten, for faith does not deprive us of all feeling. On the contrary, the children of God are undoubtedly moved by two kinds of fear, one of which arises from the feeling of human nature, even though they be endued with perfect faith. The other arises from the weakness of faith; for no man has made such proficiency as not to have any remains of that distrust against which we ought continually to strive. We must not, therefore, understand the exhortation of the Prophet to man that he Lord forbids every kind of fear, but he enjoins believers to be armed with such firmness as to overcome fear.
2. God’s word will stand forever.
– 7:3-6. Shear-jashub means ‘a remnant will return’. That is a threat and a promise. Ahaz’s fear is the fear that need not be there.
– Tabeel or the line of David? (2 Sam.7:12-16) The two smoking flaxes would be destroyed – Damascus in 732 B.C. and Samaria in 722 B.C. For 7:7-9a, the ’65 years’ must refer to the final deportations from Samaria which took place about 671 B.C. – 2 Kings 17:24 and Ezra 4:2. Ahaz is like the ten spies in Num.13:25-28. Note Isa.40:6-8.
3. Stand firm in the faith.
– 7:9b. ‘If you are not firm, you will not be confirmed.’ Or, as John Bright says: ‘If you do not stand firm, you will not be stood firm.’
– 1 Cor.16:13.