PIOUS FAITH IS NO FAITH AT ALL

–And by the way, Jesus is coming…

Has someone ever come to you with lots of words about your impending challenging situation along with a way out?  This someone examined the problem and now councils you with a strategy to fix it.  How do you respond?  “No problem, I’ve got this.” Or “Tell me more.”  I don’t know about you, but I’ve said and done both with good and bad results.

God has told Isaiah to tell the King of Judah how to avoid war between the surrounding kingdoms of Israel.  But Ahaz isn’t listening. But wait, there’s more Ahaz!  Isaiah is also given words by God to give to the King of Judah about the coming Messiah, the Promise of a Savior; but “buries the lead” within the guidance and direction from God.  As we read these words written centuries before Jesus came, we think wait a minute, he’s talking about our Savior, Jesus Christ!  Why, yes he is.

Ahaz’s pious faith is no faith at all.  Ahaz’s faith doesn’t have “a leg to stand on”.  He goes his own way, doing his own thing, because the word tells us he already made an alliance with the enemy and feels he cannot back out.  “God spoke again to Ahaz. This time he said, ‘Ask for a sign from your God. Ask anything. Be extravagant. Ask for the moon!’  But Ahaz said, “I’d never do that. I’d never make demands like that on God!”  Why?  Because Ahaz’s mind is made up and he won’t budge.  Sigh.

Think about it, friends!  How many times do we do that in our prideful walk down the wrong path in life.  We think and say, “Well, that’s that, I’ll just keep going down this road that I built, come what may.  There’s no turning back now.”  But wait! THERE IS a Way to turn back and allow God to lead us out of our own self-made messes! 

Real faith seeks real answers to all our problems.  Real faith goes to God with everything, “asking for the moon”!  Real faith trusts in God who so loved us He sent His Son to save us! 

Isaiah 7, The Message

A Virgin Will Bear a Son

1-2 During the time that Ahaz son of Jotham, son of Uzziah, was king of Judah, King Rezin of Aram and King Pekah son of Remaliah of Israel attacked Jerusalem, but the attack sputtered out. When the Davidic government learned that Aram had joined forces with Ephraim (that is, Israel), Ahaz and his people were badly shaken. They shook like trees in the wind.

3-6 Then God told Isaiah, “Go and meet Ahaz. Take your son Shear-jashub (A-Remnant-Will-Return) with you. Meet him south of the city at the end of the aqueduct where it empties into the upper pool on the road to the public laundry. Tell him, Listen, calm down. Don’t be afraid. And don’t panic over these two burnt-out cases, Rezin of Aram and the son of Remaliah. They talk big but there’s nothing to them. Aram, along with Ephraim’s son of Remaliah, have plotted to do you harm. They’ve conspired against you, saying, ‘Let’s go to war against Judah, dismember it, take it for ourselves, and set the son of Tabeel up as a puppet king over it.’

7-9 But God, the Master, says,

“It won’t happen.
    Nothing will come of it
Because the capital of Aram is Damascus
    and the king of Damascus is a mere man, Rezin.
As for Ephraim, in sixty-five years
    it will be rubble, nothing left of it.
The capital of Ephraim is Samaria,
    and the king of Samaria is the mere son of Remaliah.
If you don’t take your stand in faith,
    you won’t have a leg to stand on.”

* * *

10-11 God spoke again to Ahaz. This time he said, “Ask for a sign from your God. Ask anything. Be extravagant. Ask for the moon!”

12 But Ahaz said, “I’d never do that. I’d never make demands like that on God!”

13-17 So Isaiah told him, “Then listen to this, government of David! It’s bad enough that you make people tired with your pious, timid hypocrisies, but now you’re making God tired. So the Master is going to give you a sign anyway. Watch for this: A girl who is presently a virgin will get pregnant. She’ll bear a son and name him Immanuel (God-With-Us). By the time the child is twelve years old, able to make moral decisions, the threat of war will be over. Relax, those two kings that have you so worried will be out of the picture. But also be warned: God will bring on you and your people and your government a judgment worse than anything since the time the kingdom split, when Ephraim left Judah. The king of Assyria is coming!”

18-19 That’s when God will whistle for the flies at the headwaters of Egypt’s Nile, and whistle for the bees in the land of Assyria. They’ll come and infest every nook and cranny of this country. There’ll be no getting away from them.

20 And that’s when the Master will take the razor rented from across the Euphrates—the king of Assyria no less!—and shave the hair off your heads and genitals, leaving you shamed, exposed, and denuded. He’ll shave off your beards while he’s at it.

21-22 It will be a time when survivors will count themselves lucky to have a cow and a couple of sheep. At least they’ll have plenty of milk! Whoever’s left in the land will learn to make do with the simplest foods—curds, whey, and honey.

23-25 But that’s not the end of it. This country that used to be covered with fine vineyards—thousands of them, worth millions!—will revert to a weed patch. Weeds and thornbushes everywhere! Good for nothing except, perhaps, hunting rabbits. Cattle and sheep will forage as best they can in the fields of weeds—but there won’t be a trace of all those fertile and well-tended gardens and fields.

WHAT DO WE LEARN—HOW DO WE RESPOND?

Great is God’s faithfulness to us—even when we make Him tired with our thoughts and actions.  “It’s bad enough that you make people tired with your pious, timid hypocrisies, but now you’re making God tired,” says Isaiah.   We can almost hear the sigh of God when we go our own way and don’t listen with faith in going His best way for us.  Ahaz already had his own plan in place without consulting God.  His faith was in himself alone.  That is a dangerous place to be for all of us.

How can we avoid making God “tired” with our pious, weak faith?  But wholeheartedly trusting in what He says and living it out loud!  We can ask God anything and everything about life here so why don’t we?  He knows everything!  He knows us.  He knows the future with the best path to take.  He cares about us and wants us to live with Him for eternity.  Why trust ourselves or anyone else on earth?  I don’t know why. Jesus reminds believing followers to ask God for anything in His Name and God will respond to us with His best for us.  (See Matthew 7)

It’s not too late to respond!  Turn back to what God wants, even if we have to make adjustments and changes in our lives, humbling ourselves before Jesus in true repentance.  And here’s the best news at all—Jesus did exactly that for us!  (See Philippians 2) He humbled Himself, leaving the throne of heaven, coming to earth to seek and to save the lost—you and me.

Isaiah pulls out the “lead message”, the Promised Messiah who will save Ahaz and the world, but still Ahaz goes his own way.  Sigh.

Lord,

You are everything I want. You are all I need.  You are Savior, Lord and King forever.  I love you with all my heart, mind, and soul.  I don’t want to be like Ahaz.  I accept the changes I must make so I can hear your voice above all other voices in this world with a mind to follow you given this love in my heart placed there by you.  Thank for building your faith of You in me that I can stand on forever!

In Jesus Name, Amen

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name

On Christ the solid rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand
All other ground is sinking sand…

About randscallawayffm

Randy and Susan co founded Finding Focus Ministries in 2006. Their goal as former full time pastors, is to serve and provide spiritual encouragement and focus to those on the "front lines" of ministry. Extensive experience being on both sides of ministry, paid and volunteer, on the mission fields of other countries as well as the United States, helps them bring a different perspective to those who need it most. Need a lift? Call us 260 229 2276.
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