by the Rev. Andrew Kuyvenhoven
Isaiah's God is the Holy One of Israel. In God's presence we have to be morally clean. God has chosen his Servant, who will rule in righteousness in a kingdom of peace.
"The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel" (Isa. 7:14).
Seven hundred years before Christ the name Immanuel was given to an otherwise unknown boy of an unknown woman.
Two kings with their armies were bearing down on Jerusalem, and King Ahaz was shuddering. Isaiah told the king to trust in the Lord, but he would not. Then the prophet told Ahaz to ask for a sign of God's presence. Ahaz would not do that either, but Isaiah gave him a sign anyway. The unasked for sign was the birth of Immanuel.
The point of the sign in the days of Ahaz is not the virginity of the woman who gave birth, but her faith. (Many translations have "young woman" for "virgin," and that translation is at least defensible.) Before the boy "knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right," Isaiah tells the doubting king, the Lord will destroy the enemies of whom Ahaz is deathly afraid.
But the sign of Ahaz's days was fulfilled when the virgin Mary gave birth to Jesus through whom God is with us: Immanuel (Matthew 1:23). The birth of Jesus from the virgin Mary was a miracle of God, a sign that God has come to our side.
Today God is with us, not against us. But we don't always believe that. We know God as the Holy One, and our self-knowledge makes us fearful that God disapproves of us.
Like Ahaz, we are called to faith. Unbelief is sin. We must fix our hearts on the gospel of Immanuel: He spared not his own Son. So, "if God is for us, who can be against us?"
Andrew Kuyvenhoven's Daylight, a modern devotional classic, was originally published in 1994. This edition is copyright by Faith Alive Christian Resources, from whom may be ordered Daylight, the predecessor of Twilight.
A man of many accomplishments, Andrew Kuyvenhoven is probably best known for his contributions to Today (formerly The Family Altar), a widely-used monthly devotional booklet associated with the Back to God Hour. Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations for this edition of Twilight are from the New International Version