There is no such thing as Christian cowardice. Christ secured courage for all believers. We do not fear men who can only harm the body. We do not fear spirits who have been given an expiration date. We do not fear want of food or shelter because God promises to meet our needs. We do not fear death because Jesus gives us life.
In Isaiah 7, Ahaz is afraid. Aram and Israel have decided to attack Jerusalem. As they advance into Ephraim, the “house of David” is afraid, all the “hearts of his people trembled like trees shaking in the wind.” So the Lord sends an encourager, Isaiah, with this message: “Calm down and be quiet. Don’t be afraid or cowardly.” There are 4 things that we and Ahaz must stand firm in…
Stand firm in your identity. Repeatedly, Ahaz is reminded that he is part of the House of David. Those great promises that were delivered to David still apply to him. The king can rest assured that God still knows who he’s dealing with and he will not forget David, the man after God’s own heart. Christians, we are now called sons and daughters of God. Worthy of his name and his inheritance. He will not forget Jesus in whom our identity is now grounded. We have been grafted into the family vine. Stand courageously in your new identity. (7:2, 13)
This is what the Lord God says: It will not happen; it will not occur. (Is 7:7)
Stand firm in the Word of God. Isaiah serves as the voice of truth in order to destroy doubt. We need to listen to people who speak the truth in love to us. No matter how many times we read the truths of scripture, we still need our community to speak the truth to us and affirm us. Sometimes I don’t feel like God has anything to say to me that I haven’t already heard. Then a brother pastor who I respect will bring me a word of truth or encouragement that jump starts my heart. We need people like Isaiah who can look at our situation and say, “You know that thing your worrying about? It’s completely wrongheaded to worry about that. Here’s why…” We are meant to be agents of affirming God’s Word to one another.
If you do not stand firm in your faith, then you will not stand at all. (Is 7:9)
Stand firm in your faith. God is not telling him to stand firm in positive thinking. Faith is so much more than that. Because God has proven himself faithful to us, we can follow his commands for our life in faith. He gives us no reason to doubt that his way is the right way and his time is the right time. That is unbelief. We must remain steadfast in our obedience to a God-centered life.
See, the virgin will conceive, have a son, and name him Emmanuel. (Is 7:14)
Stand firm in God’s Promises. God has given sufficient signs of his providence before, but he offers one more. The promise he gives here was most likely to a young girl in the assembly. And it was a promise of extended peace. Ahaz could see in his mind the years of peace promised from that day until the promised child’s adolescence. And this would be a sign that a God was with his people. The peace was not permanent, however. The rest of the chapter shows that great suffering is coming to the land. But seeing God keep his promise would serve to grow their faith so that when things grew worse in the future they could trust God to be faithful once more.
Later, Matthew identifies this promised child in Isaiah 7:14 as applying to Messiah. Jesus was also a promised child. His life should also give us courage to face the hard times even as we wait for him. We long for eternal peace and freedom from fear. We long to not only have “God with us” but see him face to face.
How do you need to be reminded of the courage that you have in Christ?
Like Isaiah, who are you being called to encourage today?