“Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven.” But Ahaz said, “I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test.” And [Isaiah] said, “Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary men, that you weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” (Isa. 7: 11– 14)
Gracious Father, the more often and the more carefully I read your Word the more I realize how little of your goodness I actually “get.” I love the name “Immanuel”— God with us— yet today I realize you gave this hope in full view of unfaithfulness, unbelief, and unrighteousness. What a God you are! What a story you’re telling! It was a time of local and international crisis, and King Ahaz had every opportunity to repent and rely on you. You sent Isaiah with words of wisdom and hope. But he refused. Feigning piety, King Ahaz remained addicted to his illusion of control and self-sufficiency. Father, as I read this story, I realize how much I’m like King Ahaz. Often I go through the motions of acknowledging you, but on the inside I’m far more resolved to trust in me than in you. I can’t throw any stones today at this wicked king. Rather, I grieve my own illusion of control and self-sufficiency. That’s why the promise of Immanuel is so precious to me. Father, you’ve proven yourself to be a God who is not only with me in Jesus, but a God who is so very much for me in Jesus. Your love for us in the gospel is not only unconditional, it’s contraconditional. For you’ve met every condition necessary to fulfill your commitment to redeem your pan-national people and restore your broken creation. What a gospel you’ve given us in Jesus!
King Jesus, though I don’t have the Assyrian army outside my door threatening my existence, I do have no small number of challenges in front of me this Advent season. By faith through grace, I purpose to rely on you for gospel sanity and strength, just as I rely on you for my forgiveness and my righteousness. You are with me and you are for me, and that is enough. I pray in the glory of your name. Amen.
Smith, Scotty (2011-09-01). Everyday Prayers: 365 Days to a Gospel-Centered Faith