The Advent season is a time of anticipation, waiting, and preparation. During the month of December, Time With God will break from its regular format to explore selected passages and characters connected with the coming of Jesus, Emmanuel, God with Us.
Have you ever said or heard someone say, “I won’t believe it, until I see it”? We are generally people who like to see the evidence. Receipts, deeds, video surveillance, and dashboard cameras have made us accustomed to living by what we can see and touch. And that can be a good thing, indeed. But there are certain areas of life in which we need to hear and simply believe. Imagine if every time my wife said, “I love you,” my response was, “Prove it.” We would be missing the trust that supports all healthy relationships.
Today’s Old Testament promise stems from God’s interaction with wicked King Ahaz of Judah. Fearing other kings, Ahaz would not believe God’s promise that Judah would never be destroyed, and he made an alliance with the idolatrous nation of Assyria instead of trusting God for safety and salvation.
God’s response? If you can’t believe my word, I will give you a sign that is absolutely incredible, maybe even hard to believe.
READ THE WORD: ISAIAH 7:13-14 (ESV)
Old Testament Reference:
13 And he said, “Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary men, that you weary my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
New Testament Fulfillment:
26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” 29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be.30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
34 And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”
35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore, the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. 36 And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
RESPOND TO GOD
Someone once asked me how she could explain to a friend that the virgin birth actually happened. It is incredible. It is a sign of something completely miraculous, supernatural. It is impossible for a woman to be pregnant without specific relationship to a man—unless of course the God of all creation, who crafted men and women, could also enter into his creation and initiate new life. He is the God who spoke the stars into existence and holds our vast cosmos in his hand. For him, all things are possible.
Perhaps even more incredible is the fact that the God of creation kept a promise to an obstinate and rebellious people. He had promised to send a Savior. He had promised that there would be a King on the throne of Judah. “If you need proof,” he told them, “I will give you a sign.”
And that sign points the way. Please don’t miss that today. The virgin birth is a sign that stands at the crossroads of faith. It will either remain a nice story in the myth of a season that is about warm sounds, cozy colors, and Christmas gifts, or it will be a thing of wonder which leads you to humble amazement that God Incarnate would come so humbly, so humanly, so incredibly.
- Praise God that he is a promise-keeping God. Thank him that he loves us even when we don’t deserve it.
- Ask God to help you trust his Word, to believe that he is who he says he is and will do what he says he will do.