Have you ever “trembled with fear, like trees shaking in a storm?” Having grown up in Iowa, I remember watching many a tree shake in a storm or be left bare from those gusty winds of fall. But even more extreme would be the derecho winds that blew across the state of Iowa a month ago uprooting trees that have been there forever, decimating crops, and causing havoc over hundreds of miles. Now that is fear! When I think of such intense fear, I can think of a few times when I was left shaking. Those are not memories I want to spend a lot of time dwelling on to be sure. But it does give us an idea of how King Ahaz was feeling when he learned about the attack. These other leaders were ganging up on Ahaz. What do you think he was really feeling?
We see again how God was ready to intervene for his people. He enlisted Isaiah to bring a message to the king. God’s message was to tell King Ahaz to “stop worrying.” Sure, those two kings were plotting against him, but they were “burned-out embers.” In other words, they weren’t strong enough to compete with Judah despite their plans to invade and overthrow King Ahaz. I had to smile at the language God used to describe them.
How often have we given power to something in our life unnecessarily? More times than not, we have wasted our precious time worrying over nothing. You might have even thought, “well, if I hadn’t worried so much something bad could have happened.” We do ourselves an injustice by letting fear cripple us or hold us back. Our own self doubt can also leave us feeling powerless.
Do you think Isaiah’s word from God gave King Ahaz peace? Or do you think King Ahaz was even more sure that his fate of destruction was sealed? If we read the companion text in 2 Kings 15 and 16, we do see that King Ahaz sought help from the Assyrian king. That’s interesting in light of what God said. God had told him the invasion would not happen. God also made this incredibly wise statement, “Unless your faith is firm, I cannot make you stand firm.” In my older NLT version, it says, “You do not believe me? If you want me to protect you, learn to believe what I say.”
God cannot make us believe in him or trust him. After all, we aren’t his puppets. We know God desires for us to follow him and offers us many opportunities each day. I know I want God to protect me, and so I do spend time learning about him through his Word. We have in our hands such a beautiful gift to help us learn more about God and how he interacts with his people. How we respond to his grace and mercy is up to us.
King Ahaz was clearly afraid, whether or not he believed God’s message through Isaiah. It does come down to trust. How are you at trusting God for provision in your life? Are you going through something that is causing you to be fearful? As I write this, our world is under attack by a virus causing people to feel all sorts of things. Think about how you love and trust God. Now read this promise found in 1 John 4:18, “Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.” How does that speak to your heart today?
Let’s pray … Lord, I thank you for loving me despite my own failings and times of worry. Forgive me for not trusting you completely in every situation. You want only the best for me, and I feel honored and privileged to be cared for you that much. Help me to truly grasp the depths of your love for me. It is then that all fear will be dispelled. In Jesus’ name. Amen.