GREAT LENT: DAY 30
“Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz: “Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven.” But Ahaz said, “I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test.” And he said, “Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary men, that you weary my God also? Therefore, the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” (Isaiah, 7:10-14)
In our contemporary world, it is commonly accepted to focus on the self as the source of strength. We have heard people say, “trust in your own strength,” “you are able to do anything,” or “put your trust in your own abilities,” so on and so forth. It is perhaps the case that in the context of work ethics these mantras are justified. But when it comes to our happiness and salvation these sayings are futile. We are not the overseers of our lives, and we cannot save ourselves.
In our reading today, we learned that when Jerusalem was under attack, God promised king Ahaz to save them. However, Ahaz relied on his own strength and abilities to find solutions to difficult circumstances. Instead of placing his trust in God, Ahaz appealed to the king of Assyria, who later also attacked Jerusalem.
When King Ahaz doubted God’s promise, God said to him, “Ask a sign of the Lord your God.” At that time, Ahaz did not ask for a sign, but nevertheless, God provided a sign: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14) “Immanuel” means “God with us” which is a sign of hope and a way to teach us to trust God, entirely.
The Gospel of Matthew teaches us that this prophecy in Isaiah was fulfilled with the virgin, St. Mary. Seven centuries after King Ahaz, her son was called “Immanuel, God with us” (Matthew 1:23). Unlike King Ahaz, Mary, the bearer of God — Astvatsatsin, placed her complete trust in God, even though her obedience to God’s promise seemed like a death sentence in her circumstances and context. Mary trusted God, but King Ahaz trusted his own strength.
What is the source of our hope and salvation? Like Ahaz, we cannot save ourselves. The answer to our happiness and the hope of our salvation is “Immanuel,” where we believe with the certainty that God is with us, and we choose to trust His promises for our lives. The Gospel of Matthew starts and ends with the annunciation of God’s good news. In the last lines of the Gospel, Christ promises by saying, “I am with you always, until the end of the world.” (Matthews 28:20)
May the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ’s promise and God’s presence bring comfort to us all, and may it strengthen us in the various struggles and hardships we face in this life. Come and let us believe and know that God is always with us, and let us live and create before His eternal presence.