by Andy McAllister
“Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God with us’)” (Is 7:14 NIV).
We all need signs from time to time. Well, at least I do. Sometimes I miss signs. Sometimes I see signs and ignore them. Sometimes I need “the sign” right up in my face and so obvious I can’t miss it. I suspect we are not much different.
For the last eight weeks I have trained for a half marathon. As a novice I should have followed a novice program. My training started well and I progressed quickly. I became over confident and jumped to an intermediate program. I began to build small injury upon injury. Each time I ignored the signs and kept training. You can guess this story doesn’t end well – a doctor’s visit and no half marathon – my final sign. Thank goodness I wasn’t entrusted with the fate of Judah as King Ahaz was. He needed a sign as well. God gave him one, but he ignored it. The situation ended badly for Judah.
The text today is very familiar. Matthew quotes Isaiah when the angel of the Lord speaks to Joseph (Mt 1:23). It is a foreshadow for the coming of Jesus. We recall the text today as we prepare to celebrate Christ’s birth. We all need signs. Listen to God’s main message to King Ahaz: “Unless your faith is firm, I cannot make you stand firm” (Is 7:9b NIV).
Prayer: Dear God, thank you for the signs, which keep me on a right path. As I prepare for Christ’s coming, grant me discernment to see your signs and firm faith to stand in your glory. Amen.