Fairmont First Baptist Church
Behold: The Savior Comes - Trust
  • O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
  • Hark The Herald Angels Sing
  • Intro

    Looking at the ways in which faith in Jesus Christ allows us to see and experiance the world in wonderful and unique ways.
    By looking at texts from both the Old an the New testaments
    recognize the gifts of Faith
    Trust
    Joy
    Determination
    commitment
    Com to us through he birth of our Savior.
    “Behold” is translated from the Hebrew hinneh, from hen, a primitive article expressing surprise.
    It was used for “pointing out persons, things, and places”
    But how can we see something that hasn’t happened yet?
    That’s the nature of prophecy and this prophecy of Isaiah in particular.
    In the midst of political and social upheaval, Isaiah wanted Judah to see a future when the promise of Immanuel would be made real in Jesus.
    “Not only does the Old Testament tell the story that Jesus completes, it also declares the promise that Jesus fulfills”
    So, we are in the book of Isiah today
    Isaiah 7:10–17 CSB
    Then the Lord spoke again to Ahaz: “Ask for a sign from the Lord your God—it can be as deep as Sheol or as high as heaven.” But Ahaz replied, “I will not ask. I will not test the Lord.” Isaiah said, “Listen, house of David! Is it not enough for you to try the patience of men? Will you also try the patience of my God? Therefore, the Lord himself will give you a sign: See, the virgin will conceive, have a son, and name him Immanuel. By the time he learns to reject what is bad and choose what is good, he will be eating curds and honey. For before the boy knows to reject what is bad and choose what is good, the land of the two kings you dread will be abandoned. The Lord will bring on you, your people, and your father’s house such a time as has never been since Ephraim separated from Judah: He will bring the king of Assyria.”

    Text

    If we want to really understand what is happening in this passage, we have to figure out what is the context of Isaiah’s promise.
    This promise of Isaiah came as part of a larger prophecy to King Ahaz as Judah faced rising pressure from Israel and Syria and the greater threat from Assyria.
    We can read about some of this else where in scripture, especially in 2 Kings
    Remember that at this time the Kingdom has split North and South
    Isaiah is prophecing to the Southern Kingdom
    2 kings 16:2-4
    2 Kings 16:2–4 CSB
    Ahaz was twenty years old when he became king, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. He did not do what was right in the sight of the Lord his God like his ancestor David but walked in the ways of the kings of Israel. He even sacrificed his son in the fire, imitating the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had dispossessed before the Israelites. He sacrificed and burned incense on the high places, on the hills, and under every green tree.
    2 Kings 16:7-14
    2 Kings 16:7–14 CSB
    So Ahaz sent messengers to King Tiglath-pileser of Assyria, saying, “I am your servant and your son. March up and save me from the grasp of the king of Aram and of the king of Israel, who are rising up against me.” Ahaz also took the silver and gold found in the Lord’s temple and in the treasuries of the king’s palace and sent them to the king of Assyria as a bribe. So the king of Assyria listened to him and marched up to Damascus and captured it. He deported its people to Kir but put Rezin to death. King Ahaz went to Damascus to meet King Tiglath-pileser 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 the priest Uriah. Uriah built the altar according to all the instructions King Ahaz sent from Damascus. Therefore, by the time King Ahaz came back from Damascus, the priest Uriah had completed it. When the king came back from Damascus, he saw the altar. Then he approached the altar and ascended it. He offered his burnt offering and his grain offering, poured out his drink offering, and splattered the blood of his fellowship offerings on the altar. He took the bronze altar that was before the Lord in front of the temple between his altar and the Lord’s temple, and put it on the north side of his altar.
    Faced with external pressure and threat, Ahaz looked to everything and everyone besides God.
    Instead of trusting God, he decided to trust in idols and godless rulers
    He thought that making these deals he could preserve the kingdom
    In reality, Ahaz sold out the kingdom for a false promise of security that never came.
    The promise of Immanuel offered no quick resolution to these threats and comes without a time frame attached.
    Ahaz is being called upon to trust the promise of God, but Ahaz relies instead on the promise of political alliances
    It’s significant that Isaiah 7:14 is the first Old Testament prophecy referenced in the Gospel of Matthew (1:23) as if to say, “Look! Look! It really happened!”
    The waiting, the expectation, the promised deliverance is finally here
    But note, it was on God’s time, not Ahaz’s
    The deliverance Immanuel brought was so much more than Ahaz could have ever thought possible, but it was also totally different and in different time than he wanted.
    But by leaning on his own unerstanding, look at what Ahaz did?
    He sinned against God
    Sacrificed his own child
    engaged in idolatry
    set the stage for the exile
    All because he decided that he would trust the ways of the world instead of the ways of God.

    A new Paradigm

    Are you familiar with the word “paradigm”
    It got popular a number of years ago in corporate speak
    “We’ve got to enter into a new paradigm”
    But really what it means is how you see things
    Lenses
    or Worldview
    Faith, being born again, should give us a new paradigm, a new worldview, a new set of lenses to see things.
    It was John Calvin who referred to faith as a pair of spectacles through which to see.
    “Just as eyes, when dimmed with age or weakness or by some defect, unless aided by spectacle discern nothing distinctly; so, such is our feebleness, unless Scripture guides us in seeking God, we are immediately confused” (John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion [Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1960], 50.14.1).
    This is similar to the language that Paul uses in 1 Corinthians 13:12
    1 Corinthians 13:12 ESV
    For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
    The words of the Hebrew Scripture in Isaiah’s prophecy allowed witnesses of Jesus’s birth and life to see clearly that he was the Messiah.
    The lenses that we wear are important.
    I’ve worn glasses since I was 8, almost 30 years.
    I really need them. Just this morning, as I was getting ready, there was something that I needed to look at, but I couldn’t really see it, at least not well, because I didn’t have me glasses on.
    One of the reasons I went to thick rimmed glasses several years ago is that I have the really bad habit of taking them off when I’m reading and then walking away. I used to have those frameless glasses, and when I walked away, I could never find them, have to ask Audrey to help me find them. So, I went to thick framed glasses that I could see, even without my glasses on!
    Several years ago, I broke my, at the time, most current pair of glasses and had to go back to an old pair until I could get new ones. the problem was the old glasses were from two or three prescriptions back.
    I was misserable. I couldn’t really see. I got headaches. I was cranky.
    The lenses through which we look at the world matter.
    Some lenses distort our vision.
    Some lenses even hurt our eyes and diminish our capacity to see.
    The right lenses make our vision clearer.
    It wasn’t enough that I was wearing glasses, I had to wear the right ones, with the right prescription in them, in order for them to help and not hurt.

    Application

    Frequently in life, we are called upon to see a future that hasn’t happened yet.
    Pregnancy? Engagement? A new job? Travel?
    And it seems this year, we’ve been called on more than normal to do this.
    This year has been a whole year of sitting and waiting.
    Called upon to see a not-quite-yet future.
    The expectation of a not-yet-realized future is no more vividly embodied than at Christmas time among young children, as they eagerly await gifts which they cannot see until unwrapped on Christmas morning.
    I remember as a kid the wait was some of the best part, but it was also excruciating.
    Time seemed to slooooooowwwwww down around December 1.
    Christmas could never get here fast enough.
    Just as nothing seems to keep kids from looking forward to Christmas Day, nothing ought to keep us from looking forward to the future as we trust that Jesus will be present in it.
    Our faith should give us new eyes to see, a new paradigm, worldview, new lenses, (whatever metaphor you want).
    When that happens we should see the foolishness of Ahaz, thinking that he could find a solution to his problem that was better than the promise of God.
    Or Abraham and Sarah, who didn’t Trust God to fulfill his promise and took things into their own hands, a situation that ended with Hagar and Ishmael being run out into the desert.
    Whenever we are faced with an uncertain future, and we are faced with an uncertain future at the moment, we can fully expect that Jesus, that Immanuel, God with us, will fulfill his promise to salvation and care.
      • Isaiah 7:10–17CSB

      • 2 Kings 16:2–4CSB

      • 2 Kings 16:7–14CSB

      • 1 Corinthians 13:12CSB

  • Away in a Manger

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