Daily email Number 389 – from the Vicar

We resume our looking at the book of the Prophet Isaiah, and to ease ourselves gently back, a short-ish passage today, Isaiah Chapter 7 verses 1 to 9.
There are a lot of names here so firstly some explanations or definitions.
God’s people have split into 2 kingdoms, Israel (also called Ephraim) in the north, and Judah (also called the House of David) in the south.  Isaiah usually speaks to the kings and people of the south, but also speaks about what is happening in the north.
Aram is another name for Syria, not to be confused with Assyria!
These events took place in the time of Ahaz, King of Judah, who was the grandson of King Uzziah, whose death is mentioned when Isaiah had his great vision and commission back in Chapter 6.  Ahaz is shaken by the news that Aram and Ephraim/Israel are plotting together against Judah (vs.1-2).  So Isaiah is sent by the Lord to meet with Ahaz and reassure him that this will not happen (vs.3-9)
Ahaz is encouraged to be careful, keep calm and do not be afraid (v.4a).Although his enemies may be scary to Ahaz, to the Lord who is much more powerful, they are mere smouldering stubs of firewood (v.4b).  In fact within a relatively short number of years, Ephraim will be completely destroyed (v.6).Ahaz needed to stand firm in his faith, and trust the Lord (v.9).  This is not just a military situation, but also a spiritual battle.
Sometimes (perhaps more usually) the Lord might speak to us in more general terms about how to live for him, here Ahaz is graciously given a specific word about a certain situation and the future.  The key question is as always, is he going to listen and obey??
More next time.
From our extended church address list, let us remember in our prayers today,- Pat and Catherine- Jotham and Jethro

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