Isaiah 7:11-14 “‘Ask a sign for yourself from the Lord your God; ask it either in the depth or in the height above. But Ahaz said, ‘I will not ask, nor will I test the Lord!’ And he said, Hear ye now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”

     Sometimes you see a situation happening and because you don’t know what’s really going on it doesn’t make much sense.  King Ahaz didn’t want to test the Lord and wasn’t that good?  Wasn’t  King Ahaz honouring God’s law; “You shall not tempt the Lord your God as you tempted Him in Massah. You shall diligently keep the commandments of the Lord your God, His testimonies, and His statutes which He has commanded you.” (Deuteronomy 6:16,17)  Why would God be ‘weary’ of King Ahaz and give him a hard time? Because King Ahaz was a ‘double dealer’!

The kings of Syria and Israel had joined up together and were going to march on Jerusalem; “Now it came to pass in the days of Ahaz the son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, king of Judah, that Rezin king of Syria and Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, went up to Jerusalem to make war against it, but could not prevail against it.” (Isaiah 7:1) God would not allow their plan to work.   God has sent Isaiah to King Ahaz to assure him that all would work out in His way.

     But King Ahaz had other plans.  He was going to ‘take care of business’ himself.  He’d made a deal with the King of Assyria to come and help him; “So Ahaz sent messengers to Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria, saying, I am your servant and son. Come up and save me out of the hands of the kings of Syria and of Israel, who are attacking me. And Ahaz took the silver and gold in the house of the Lord and in the treasuries of the king’s house and sent a present to the king of Assyria.” (2 Kings 16:7,8)   Not only did King Ahaz trust men more than God he also took from God to pay for his ‘deliverance’.

     King Ahaz was into idolatry.  He set up an alter to the god of the King of Assyria;  “King Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria. When he saw the altar that was in Damascus, King Ahaz sent a model of the altar and complete plans for its construction to Uriah the priest. Uriah built the altar according to all the instructions King Ahaz sent from Damascus. Therefore, by the time King Ahaz came back from Damascus, Uriah the priest had completed it.” (2 Kings 10;10,11)  There is always an unfaithful priest willing to pander to idolatry if a ruler of this world asks for it.  And both double dealing ruler and his priest flunky thinks no one notices!

     God noticed! God knew of King Ahaz’s unfaithfulness.  So when God offered King Ahaz assurance and Ahaz turned down the offer, God knew why; “‘Ask a sign for yourself from the Lord your God; ask it either in the depth or in the height above.’ But Ahaz said, ‘I will not ask, nor will I test the Lord!'” (Isaiah 7:11,12)  King Ahaz, a king of hypocrites, thought he could fool God by pretending to be pious.  Ahaz was pretending to honour  the first Commandment of God (Deuteronomy 6:16) by refusing to test the Lord while engaging in idolatry, and trusting men above God!

     Jamieson,  Fausset and Brown tells us; “But here there was the warrant of the prophet of God; to have asked a sign, when thus offered, would not have been a tempting of God. Ahaz’ true reason for declining was his resolve not to do God’s will, but to negotiate with Assyria, and persevere in his idolatry (II Kings 16:7-8, II Kings 16:3-4, II Kings 16:10). Men often excuse their distrust in God, and trust in their own devices, by professed reverence for God.”  Isn’t this the way of the world and the fake priesthood that props  it up.  Look religious and look good all the while believing in themselves and false gods.  Their deeds are evil.

     And what did God do?  He called King Ahaz on his sneaky double dealing.  And He promised the comming of  a real King; “Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel”!  This probably didn’t mean much to King Ahaz given that  seven more centuries were to pass before its fulfilment.     Being a self-centred idolater King Ahaz could only see his problems and his timing.  Trusting in God requires taking a long view and waiting on Him.

    But God’s promise of the coming of His Son sure means a lot to you and me!  God’s Word assures us of His plan for our lives.  Let’s take Him at His Word and stand firm on this rock!  The world never thinks God will prevail and scoffs at His plans because double dealers love their own plans; “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.” (John 3:19)

     Come Lord Jesus!