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The Real Son is Here...
Scripture: Isaiah 7:10-16
Track 16 of 17 in the Living in the Light of His Coming series


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Chuck Sackett Speaker: Chuck Sackett
Dr. G. Charles Sackett is minister of Madison Park Christian Church.

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Sermon for Sunday, December 19, 2004
16th sermon in a 17 part series
"The Real Son is Here"
"Living in the Light of His Coming"
(Isaiah 7:10-16)
Copyright 2004 G. Charles Sackett

The common folklore that we were taught, at least as kids growing up in Idaho, was that the name of the state meant "the sun comes down the mountain". S U N of course, supposedly from an Indian word that was coined to talk about the beauty of the state.

I had a friend who moved from Tennessee to teach in Idaho and was at a camp and decided to make a play on that particular word thinking that it would help connect with the kids at camp, which I suppose it did. He had a series of sermons based on times when Jesus came down the mountain. When the Son, S O N, came down the mountain.

There really are several of those rather significant incidents in the life of Jesus. Ah, the Sermon on the Mount was done on a mountainside. And when Jesus came down off of that mountainside it was distinct that God was in the process of speaking. That some things were happening and God's voice was being heard.

There's the Mount of transfiguration when Jesus takes Peter, James and John up on the mountain and he is transformed and God speaks in that moment and said "this is my Son, hear him" and they come down off the mountain and there's a young lad in need of healing and Christ is able to heal him. And God's activity is seen clearly. And of course there is Mount Calvary and when Jesus comes down off of that mountain we have a very clear image of Jesus and God saving through him.

Though that gets me just a little ahead of the story. Let's back up just a little, about in fact, 730 years before Christ to the text that we're looking at this morning in Isaiah 7.

Israel has divided into two kingdoms and has been for quite some time; north and south, Israel and Judah. We're concerned with Judah. Isaiah primarily prophesied to the southern kingdom of Judah and Israel up north has partnered with another kingdom, Aram and these two kings, Rezin and Pekah have decided that they're going to attack Judah. Ahaz the king is worried about that attack when Isaiah comes and says, I need for you to know it's gonna be okay. Don't panic. That's where our text picks up in Isaiah 7. We're gonna read the first nine verses together which set the context for the text that we're really interested in.

Isaiah 7:1 When Ahaz son of Jotham, son of Uzziah, was king of Judah, King Rezin of Aram and Pekah son of Remaliah king of Israel marched up to fight against Jerusalem, but they could not overpower it.

Now the house of David was told, "Aram has allied itself with Ephraim" so the hearts of Ahaz and his people were shaken, as the trees of the forest are shaken by the wind.

Then the Lord said to Isaiah, "Go out, you and your son Shear-Jashub, to meet Ahaz at the end of the aqueduct of the Upper Pool, on the road to the Washerman's Field. Say to him, Be careful, keep calm and don't be afraid. Do not lose heart because of these two smoldering stubs of firewood--because of the fierce anger of Rezin and Aram and of the son of Remaliah. Aram, Ephraim and Remaliah's son have plotted your ruin, saying, "Let us invade Judah; let us tear it apart and divide it among ourselves, and make the son of Tabeel king over it." Yet this is what the Sovereign Lord says:

" It will not take place, it will not happen, for the head of Aram is Damascus, and the head of Damascus is only Rezin. Within sixty-five years Ephraim will be too shattered to be a people. The head of Ephraim is Samaria, and the head of Samaria is only Remaliah's son. If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.' "

God's promise is, pay attention to me, listen to me, because this thing isn't gonna happen. You don't have to worry about those two kings coming down on you. I am going to act. And in fact, within just a matter of years, Assyria, the great nation from the north came down destroyed northern Israel, destroyed Aram and Judah had absolutely nothing to fear. God took care of his people in that particular moment.

As Isaiah comes to tell this story to Judah to Ahaz the king, he insists that Ahaz seek a sign to guarantee that God knows what he's talking about and in a moment of somewhat self-righteousness I suppose, Ahaz the king said I would never presume to ask God for a sign.

Well, signs were not unusual. God did that with some regularity. Moses asked for a sign and a snake appeared out of a rod and went back into a rod after he was done. Gideon asked for a sign and God produced water on a dry piece of cloth on one day and then reversed it the next. For others like Joshua he made the sun stand still. It wasn't beyond God to do things to get peoples attention. But, as you see here in Isaiah 7:10ff, Ahaz doesn't want to presume apparently, he says.

Isaiah 7:10 Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, "Ask the Lord your God for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights."

But Ahaz said, "I will not ask; I will not put the Lord to the test."

And so God says, well okay, I'll just give you a sign anyway. Whether you want one or not, here's the sign that I mean what I say.

Isaiah 7:13 Then Isaiah said, "Hear now, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of men? Will you try the patience of my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. He will eat curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right. But before the boy knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, the land of the two kings you dread will be laid waste.

Here's the sign. There's going to be a young woman who is currently childless who is going to give birth to a child and call his name Immanuel and before this boy grows up enough to be able to discern right and wrong, before he is old enough to reach any kind of accountability, these two northern kingdoms are going to be destroyed. They're going to be taken care of.

Many scholars think that is actually what transpires in the next chapter. Because prophesy, as we understand it, obviously has reference to something out here in the future and we know what this is in reference to because it's Christmas and we've already read the Christmas story.

But this had to mean something to Ahaz. And so when you turn to Chapter 8 here's what you hear. Isaiah 8:1 The Lord said to me, "Take a large scroll and write on it with an ordinary pen: Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz. (For those of you still thinking about names for your children, here's an option for you. You could actually have four kids and not run out of names on this one.) And I will call in Uriah the priest and Zechariah son of Jeberekiah as reliable witnesses for me."

Then I went to the prophetess, and she conceived and gave birth to a son. And the Lord said to me, "Name him Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz. Before the boy knows how to say My father' or My mother', the wealth of Damascus and the plunder of Samaria will be carried off by the king of Assyria."

Then look at Isaiah 8:18 where Isaiah says, Here am I, and the children the Lord has given me. We are signs and symbols in Israel from the Lord Almighty, who dwells on Mount Zion.

Now there are legitimate reasons to wonder whether this is the actual fulfillment, but it seems to make good sense that within the next year after this prophesy of a child being born, that there was a child born. And before this child that was prophesied in Isaiah 7 would be old enough to know right from wrong, in Isaiah 8 this child who is born before he's old enough to make those kinds of same choices, the same end result of the prophesy occurs and that is, Assyria takes care of these two northern kingdoms that are threatening Judah.

So God prophesies. There's going to be a sign. And Ahaz sees that sign and the message that he gets is that "when you see the Son, look for God to act". When this child is born, pay attention because God is up to something. In fact the very name that he's given, Immanuel. .. . . . Well, we've done this before, but I'll remind you when you see names in the Old Testament that end in E L, most of the time those names have something to do with God. That's the abbreviated name for Elohim. . . . .Immanuel. The name literally means "God is with us" or more technically, "with us, God". So when you see this son born, you be prepared because "God is about to act".

Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz is born and shortly after that God acts. He brings Assyria down and destroys the two enemies of Judah.

But, you and I know that our concern today in Illinois in December is not about two northern kingdoms in Judah. We want to know, does this have anything to do with us and we already know the answer because we know that this is clearly a statement not about just a son, Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz, but about the SON. In fact, this whole section is full of anticipation of the coming of the SON. We see it first in Isaiah 7 of course, that there's going to be a virgin conceive and give birth to a son and we're gonna call his name Immanuel. But you just turn another chapter over from Isaiah 8 and you start out in Isaiah 9:1. . . .there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress, in the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea, along the Jordan

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.

And you follow that language all the way down to Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end.

He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness. . .

You know who that is. The New Testament clearly identifies that as Jesus. He's the one who came in that sense. We get another image in Isaiah 11 of Jesus coming and we know from Matthew 1 that Isaiah 7 is all about the Son.

Look at Matthew 1:18 This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about:

His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel" (and then Matthew does you this favor) which means "God with us."

When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

This is clearly about Jesus!

Seven Hundred and thirty years before the birth of Christ, Isaiah said, there is going to be a birth of a son. That Son is going to bear a name, Immanuel. He will be "God with us" and when he shows up you should begin to expect to see God act. Because that is the nature of this sign that when God sends the Son, expect God to act. When you see the Son come down the mountain, begin to anticipate that God is going to do some things and that certainly is what happened, isn't it? When the Son arrived, God began to act and miracles began to occur and lives began to change and bodies were healed and the dead were raised and the blind could see and God began to act.

But I'm frankly not overly concerned about what happened 730 years before Christ because it doesn't have a lot to do with me. And to be really honest with you, I'm not overly concerned about what happened in Jesus day because quite frankly, I'm not that old.

I am concerned with whether or not this prophesy has anything to do with this Christmas. I think about the words of Jesus.

John 17:20 In the midst of Jesus prayer he says, I am not praying only for these my disciples, but I am praying Father, for those who will believe in me through their words. That's us! The life of Jesus has something to do with me and you.

Listen to the words of Peter. On the day of Pentecost when the first gospel sermon is preached and he has announced that Jesus is in fact the Messiah, he says, this promise is not only to you and to your children but to those who are far off--as many as the Lord our God will call to himself. That's us! The ones that God has called to himself.

Or listen to the words of Paul in Romans 8 where this language of God's activity becomes so abundantly clear. Romans 8 over here on the other side of the chapter, most of the way through, down in Romans 8:31 What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, (sound vaguely familiar?) Who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all--how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died--more than that, who was raised to life--is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Crist? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: (and then he quotes from Isaiah 53) "For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered."

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Hear the words of Paul? If God is for us, if God is with us, if Immanuel--who could be against us? It's about us! This Christmas story is about the fact that when you see the Son, you can begin to expect God to act. When you see Jesus, look out! Because he's going to work. He s going to begin to make a difference. Immanuel. God with us! When the Son comes down the mountain, look for God to do something.

That's the message of Isaiah 7 and it is why it is so incredibly important that the church always "elevate Jesus" because when the Son is lifted up he says, "I will draw all men to me". Our job is not to elevate a wonderful children's ministry. Our job is not to elevate a new building program. Our job is not to elevate a wonderful cantata. Our job is to elevate Jesus. Because when the Son comes, God acts.

It's why it is so incredibly important as a church family, as Christian people, that you keep Christ central to this season. It isn't that there's a thing wrong with giving gifts and sharing and going to parties and having meals. It's that if you loose sight of the Son, you loose sight of the chance for God to act. Immanuel. God with us!

When you see the Son, look for God. It's why it's so important that we encourage people to come to worship. Oh, it isn't about how many seats are filled. It isn't about how many folks we can say come to this place. It's the fact that when people have an opportunity to see in worship, which is what worship is, God elevated, they have a chance to see Jesus. Then they have the opportunity for God to work. See when the Son comes, you can anticipate that God is about to act.

When you begin to see Jesus and if you hang around here long enough, you will. When you begin to see Jesus, when you begin to understand Immanuel (God with us) you can expect your desires to change. You can expect that the things that you want will be different. That somehow the things that used to be so appealing will not be nearly as appealing as they used to be.

When you see Jesus, you can expect your affections to change. The things that you used to be in love with that were so vitally important to you, suddenly you discover they're not as important as they used to be. Someone else has invaded that territory. When you see Jesus, you can expect that your decisions will change. The things that you have always chosen to do in the past will somehow get relegated to some other realm of your life because there will be other things more important to you to do. Because when you see the Son, you should expect to see God act.

And, if you come and you hear the message about Jesus, and you begin to see Jesus, then you should also expect to hear God call to your life. . . . . . . . . . . . .something remarkable about seeing the Son (Jesus) come down the mountain and hear the word Immanuel (God with us) because there is a God in heaven who is reaching out and calling to you to come to him, to pay attention to the real Son.

Oh I don't have any doubt whatsoever that it was extremely important for Ahaz to understand that there was a son gonna be born before the destruction of Assyria. I'm glad it happened because it simply helps us to understand the reliability of Scripture. But I'm not so concerned about Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz. I am concerned about this Son, the Son, the real Son whose name is Jesus, whose birth we will celebrate in less than a week but whose life can impact your life for eternity.

We lift before you the real Son, Immanuel and we invite you to see in Him the activity of God in your life. To listen for Him to call you to himself and we invite you to pay attention.

Father, we want to hear you. We want to see in your Son, Jesus your activity in our life. And Father, if there is one here today who has not met the real Jesus, the real Son, I pray that as this season unfolds that they'll see in Jesus that you are with us. We pray in His name. Amen

Would you stand with me please?