Isaiah 8: Because when all is said and done, the last word is Immanuel–God-With-Us.
When the tiny nation Judah is under attack on two fronts Isaiah goes to King Ahaz with the promise that Judah will prevail and the attack will fail. Ahaz can hardly believe it. His nation is out manned and out gunned by the invaders. Isaiah tells him to ask for a sign, any sign, and it will be given him. However, Ahaz’s lack of faith is apparent when he off handedly says, “Oh, I won’t do that.” Isaiah tells him that the Lord’s displeased with his refusal to even bother asking for a sign, but that one will be given anyway. It’s here that we get into “virgin birth” talk. However, the promise isn’t for the Messiah to come, it has to do with current circumstances. Isaiah says that before a girl, now a virgin, can marry, conceive, and give birth (in other words, a poetic way of saying “nine months”) that those armies attacking Judah will be gone. To underscore the reason for this withdrawal the child could properly be named “Immanuel” or “God-With-Us.” Isaiah goes on to express God’s displeasure with Ahaz but, still, the bottom line remains. When all else is “said and done” “Immanuel” remains true, God is with us. When Christ is born this incident comes to mind and is played out in a very literal way. This time it is literally a virgin who gives birth, and this time it really is God who is with us. In these related incidents we see the dual nature of prophecy as there’s a very current application that’s echoed in an unimaginable way in a more distant future. We also see that, today, we can grasp this wonderful truth at a level Isaiah could hardly imagine: God is with us indeed.
Take Away: How wonderful to be reminded of Immanuel God-is-with-us.