12/4/16 Advent Part 2: “The Promise of God’s Presence” Is 7
INTRO> We are in the second week of advent and we looked at God’s promise, the first promise last week from Genesis 3:15. This week we continue that promise with the prophecy in Isaiah 7. If there is one thing that I know of being a pastor, its that you really get to know people and humanity. One thing that I know is that this time of year though that is portrayed as “holly and jolly” is also a dark time of year for many people. It’s a reminder of the brokenness of family and the loss of loved ones. It also brings out many fears in people, the human race is strikes by fear. A quick google search will turn up over 500+ fears. One of the top fears is “Monophobia” which is described as Autophobia, also called monophobia, isolophobia, and eremophobia has many different definitions. They vary slightly, however for the most part they mean the same thing. According to the Merriam-Webster Medical Dictionary, eremphobia is a morbid fear of being isolated.According to The Practitioner’s Medical Dictionary, the definition of autophobia is a morbid fear of solitude or one’s self.
TRANS> This is also our spiritual problem as well, being isolated from God as we saw last week.
CONTEXT> Today we look at Isiah 7 and the context of the famous promise that God gives of the virgin birth and the name given is “Immanuel” or the definition “God with us” But we need to look at the entire context and do a little work first:
- “In the days of Ahaz…” v1 turn to 2 Kings 16:1-7 for the background on Ahaz. 20 year old king, wicked who is in bed with the enemy
- Back to Isiah 7– what is happening is that Israel is split, like a civil war and they are faced with a Big decision. Aha trusts in himself rather than what God provides but God still gives him a sign.
- The Sign- There is a lot of debate on Isaiah 7:14. The word “virgin” can also mean “young woman” People use this to deny the virigin birth. Not true. “Mountain Peak Prophecies” Isaiah sees the prophecy like that. An immediate fullfillment, his future son, and future fullfiment, Jesus. Matthew 1
TRANS> So what does this mean, this promise that “God is with us” Let look at the text and draw out some principles.
1) God is with me in my fears. v2-4
- “and the heart of the people shook… do not fear..” God knows what is happening with is people, that they are afraid of this army, yet his word comes to them.
APP> What makes fear, fear.
- Fear takes a future possibility and makes it a present reality. With anything, Fear freezes you.
- How do you over come fear? We fight fear by focusing on God’s perspective. “do not fear because of the two smoldering stumps” God is sovereign and in control and just because you can’t see the way out doesn’t mean there ins’t one.
2) God is with me in my doubts. v3 & v12
- “at the upper pool on the highway of the washers field.” Do you know what this means? Aha is checking his armies water supply because he is still getting ready to go out to battle. He is doubting that God will come through.
- “ I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test” This is out of humility it is out of pride, he has already made his plans!
APP> When we look at Ahaz and see his doubts we see that when we doubt we tend to trust 1 of 2 things:
When we doubt we trust:
- We trust ourselves.
- We trust our idols. (Assyria)
- You will always fail yourself.
- Your idols will always turn on you. (Assyria turns)
- God often puts in situations that we can’t control to show us that he is in control.
- God’s doesn’t decline our doubts, he invites our doubts so we can overcome them. (God keeps giving Ahaz a word or sign)
3) God is with me but am I with God?
- This whole passage we see God chasing Ahaz and his people. God is with them, but Ahaz is not with God. *ILL> My friend David winning tickets to the music club. “The incarnation did not happen merely to let us know that God exists. It happened to being him near, so he can be with us and we with him. Millions of people every year sing, “Jesus our Immanuel,” but are they really with him? do they know him or do they only know about him” Jesus literally moved heaven and earth to get near to us- what should we be doing now to truly be with him” – Tim keller, Hidden Christmas pg55
Close> When you look at this whole passage and it’s context, it’s like God is saying that “You can trust me?” But our response is “How God, how can i know”
*ILL> My kids when they are scared, sometimes don’t take my word for it. Sometimes I have to go with them… they don’t just need my promise.. they need my presence.
Big Idea> Christmas is the promise of God’s presence
- What is your greatest fear?
- Have you given that fear over to Jesus?
- Where or What do you run to most often when you doubt God’s goodness?
Big Idea> Christmas is God saying, “Trust me, I’m with you.”