I am attempting to read through all 66 books of the Bible this year. Whenever I am challenged or encouraged by a particular word, verse, or passage, I will share it with you. Welcome to my “66 in 1” series.
I remember what being outnumbered feels like.
I remember a group of boys picking on a lone boy at recess because he was playing with the kickball they wanted. I remember a clique of girls gossiping about their friend because she possessed the affections of a boy one of them desired.
Chances are, the two little people I am zealous for may become outnumbered at some point. I pray they remain firm instead of flabby.
Isaiah chapter 7 focuses on Ahaz, an evil King of Judah. You can read more about him in 2 Kings chapter 16 and 2 Chronicles chapter 28. Who he was and what he did was that evil. In fact,
“In the time of his distress he (Ahaz) became yet more faithless to the LORD.”
~2 Chronicles 28:22, emphasis mine
In Isaiah chapter 7, we find Mr. Evil shaking in his royal sandals because Syria and Ephraim were joining forces and coming against him and the people of Judah.
King Ahaz was outnumbered on the playground.
Not surprisingly, Ahaz clung to his kickball and did not call out to God for help. God knew this. And yet God reached out to Ahaz through a particular message via His prophet, Isaiah.
Don’t worry about losing your kickball, evil-man-who-refuses-to-love-me. I got this and will allow a remnant of Judah to remain.
I LOVE THIS.
God extends comfort to and defends those who do not acknowledge Him because He is compassionate and loving. The same is also true for those who do acknowledge Him. If God has promised something to His beloved child, it will happen.
Long before King Ahaz, King David (a man who loved God) ruled over Judah. God promised that a lasting Kingdom would be established through David’s royal lineage and the tribe of Judah (2 Samuel chapter 7, 1 Chronicles 17:11-14, 2 Chronicles 6:16). Thus, in Isaiah 7: 5-8, Isaiah tells Ahaz that Syria and Ephraim will not be successful in their conquest against Judah.
Evil Ahaz can keep his kickball. God will remain faithful to the promise He made to King David. A remnant of Judah would be saved.
“And the LORD said to Isaiah, ‘Go out to meet Ahaz, you and Shear-jashub your son, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool’… And say to him, ‘Be careful, be quiet, do not fear, and do not let your heart be faint’… ‘If you are not firm in your faith, you will not be firm at all.‘ ”
~ Isaiah 7: 3, 4a, 9b ESV (emphasis mine)
Not only did God send a specific son of Isaiah’s, Shear-jashub,* along with the prophet to face the King, but God also sent them to a specific place to confront Ahaz. God intended for the exchange to take place while Ahaz was perplexed and pacing around the upper conduit of the city.
King Ahaz was allowing the conduit, or the condition of his physical surroundings to make him feel “firm.” God wanted his “firmness” to stem from something else: a quiet, steady faith in Him alone. Without faith, Ahaz would remain flabby.
This little passage in Isaiah is such a blessing to my mama’s heart. My children love God, and I am trying to foster their love for Him as we go throughout our days. What happens on the “playground” of their lives though, threatens to make them flabby.
I pray my children will remain firm in their faith.
My prayer for you as well:
Friend, I pray the same for you too. Because online “socializing” is part of our daily routines now, it easy for us to feel outnumbered, alone, not good enough or loved enough. I encourage you to quit worrying about your “kickball” or about the whispers or fingers that are pointing. Do not be flabby and freak out.
God is trying to extend lasting, immovable comfort to you. You may not even acknowledge Him right now. God knows this. He sees you at the upper pool, perplexed and pacing.
Those with faith will never be outnumbered.
Remain firm instead of flabby.
*Fyi, the name Shear-jashub means “a remnant shall return.” How cool and convenient that Isaiah’s son’s name represents what will happen to Judah. Just an additional carrot for you to “chew on” friends. God is into and in the details… one degree at a time. Love.