Fearing the consequences of a church meeting, the minister pulled off the highway into a dinner to pray for a sign. When he opened his eyes he immediately saw two signs, neither one he liked: One Way; No Exit.
Fearing the enemy preparing for siege, King Ahaz, when offered a sign politely declined.
Then Isaiah said: “Hear now, O house of David! Is it not enough to try people’s patience? Will you also try my God’s patience? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and will give birth to a son, and will name him Immanuel. …”Isaiah 7:13-14
People have argued over this sign for thousands of years. Hebrew manuscripts of this passage clearly read “young woman.” Five hundred years latter, when Jewish scholars translated this passage into Greek, they chose a word that included this meaning as well as “virgin” perhaps because this son would embody a divine message. Over the next two hundred years that Greek word shifted in meaning toward meaning exclusively virgin, which is how Matthew read this text.
All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel.”Matthew 1:22-23
Words frequently change meanings over time. In my lifetime the word “gay” has shifted in meaning from primarily “merry, lively” and “bright or showy.” Although its current primary meaning appeared in print as an alternate meaning about 400 years ago.
Do you need a sign from God? Then stop, look, and listen for God is extremely patient in preparing signs for us.
I will have more to say about Isaiah 7:10-16 at Temple Terrace Presbyterian Church at 8:15 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, December 22nd.
Robert Shaw, Pastor
A Tip for Parents
Perhaps the most scandalous item in the Gospels is that Jesus, the Son of God, had real human parents. Gods of other religions appeared to humanity only when they were fully formed and when parents were identified, they were other gods.
Wonder aloud with your children about Jesus playing with friends their age and being teased or bothered by older children. Is knowing that Jesus fully experienced human life comforting when your child faces difficulties?