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  • Writer's pictureBishop Mesrop Parsamyan

GREAT LENT - Day 30: Tuesday

"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 strength," "You can do anything," or "Put your trust in your abilities," and so forth. These mantras may be justified in the context of work ethics. But these sayings are futile when it comes to our happiness and salvation. We are not the overseers of our lives and cannot save ourselves.


In our reading today, we learned that God promised King Ahaz to save them when Jerusalem was under attack. However, Ahaz relied on his strength and abilities to find solutions in these difficult circumstances. Instead of trusting God, Ahaz appealed to the king of Assyria, who later 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 of Isaiah was fulfilled with the Holy Virgin 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, "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 comfort us all and strengthen us in the various struggles and hardships we face in this life. Let us believe and know that God is always with us, and let us live and create in His eternal presence.

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