Reading the Signs?

Posted on December 18, 2013 by

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Nativity 1 “Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign:  the virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel.”  Isaiah 7: 14

Signs are everywhere.  I’ve counted 75 road signs in the ¼ mile between my house and the closest major intersection in the center of my town.  You literally can not move around my town without interacting with an almost obnoxious number of signs.  With so many signs around me, I can easily become numb to their direction; their seriousness loses luster over time.

Isaiah encourages us that the Lord Himself has given us a sign.  This sign is declared in Isaiah chapter 7.  This moment comes before Israel is destroyed, hundreds of years before Jesus is born.  The King (Ahaz) has been allying Israel with neighboring tribes in order to try to stave off destruction.  Isaiah encourages Ahaz to let God be “Israel’s defender” and to ask God for a sign, but the stubborn King refuses:

“’If you do not stand firm in your faith,  you will not stand at all.’”  10 Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, 11 “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.”  Isaiah 7: 10-11

The King is refusing to ask God for a sign, not out of honor to the Lord, but rather because he doesn’t want to change the direction of his life.  We can easily become like Israel’s ill-fated King:  missing God’s signs because we are convinced that our plans are His.  The same numbness I experience driving around town can settle into my walk with Jesus as well.

God was looking for a partner in Ahaz and He is looking for a partner in you and me.  God is looking for people who will “stand firm in the faith” and keep their eyes on the lookout for His direction.  He is looking for us to “fight the fight” and “win the battle” with His plans, His tools, and for His glory…not our own.  He is looking for us to be sustained with His strength and His joy.   He is longing to bring goodness upon goodness into our lives, but oftentimes, we can be to busy and simply miss what he is doing.

God desires to do something new in our midst. God is able to move us out of the ruts we get into and take us to new and fresh places.  Can we pause and see the wonder of His signs?  The virgin will be with child and Jesus will be our King.  I pray that the wonder of that sign, the Incarnation, washes over our ho-hum routines and breathes new life into us?  Perhaps the mystery and majesty of the Incarnation, Emmanuel, God with us, is the very sign we need to pay closer attention to. It could change our lives.

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