Isaiah: Striving Less and Trusting God

Day 5 of 5 • This day’s reading

Devotional

Immanuel, God with us

Feelings of loneliness can even creep into our relationship with the Lord. When God seems a million miles away or when our prayers feel like they are hitting the ceiling, we can encounter spiritual loneliness.

As we read Isaiah’s words today, we will draw out facts that will help us trust God when our feelings aren’t on board. Even when we don’t sense God at work, He is. He is Immanuel, God with us. We just need to rediscover what we already have: a God who went to great lengths to redeem His relationship with His people.

Read Isaiah 7:10-25.

God invited Ahaz to reach out in faith, but Ahaz hid behind rules he didn’t even follow to deny the Lord. Testing God was forbidden in the law (Deut. 6:16), but Ahaz twisted the command rather than heed God’s invitation. This exasperated Isaiah. Even though Ahaz didn’t specify a sign, the Lord gave him one anyway.

While the verse has only one meaning, it had a double fulfillment that would come seven hundred years apart. First, it was significant to Ahaz as a challenge not to seek alliances with foreign nations like Assyria for help since God was with him.

Second, the Gospel of Matthew helps us see its fulfillment in the birth of Jesus. In Matthew 1, we learn that an angel appeared to Joseph giving greater insight into Isaiah’s words.

Read Matthew 1:21-23.

Signs like the one given in Isaiah 7:14 confirm God’s long-term plan and commitment to His people. The meaning is clear for Isaiah’s day, Matthew’s day, and ours: God is with us.

No matter what’s going on in our lives, we can trust that Immanuel is with us. This takes active faith because our human defaults lead us toward distraction, self-pity, and lies when we feel alone. Knowing that someone is with us is one thing, but when we discover that the person alongside us is “Wonderful,” “Mighty,” “Everlasting,” and a “Prince,” well that adds a whole new layer to what it means to have God with us.

Read Isaiah 9:1-7.

I don’t know what you’re walking through right now, but I’m sure there have been times when you could relate to living in a land that feels dark (Isa. 9:2). We often personally trudge through grief, complicated relationships, health problems, job losses, or other trials that can leave us in a dark place. When we focus our eyes on Jesus, we make our fundamental reality one that’s focused on hope.

At the heart of Isaiah’s message is the hope of the gospel: God sent His only Son, Jesus, to earth, and He offered the perfect sacrifice—Jesus’s very life—to cleanse us from our sins.

We end our week of study with great hope knowing that God is not only with us in this life, but because He is Immanuel, we can be with Him in the next! Darkness and despair don’t get the final say in our lives.

For more of this study, including teaching videos by author Melissa Spoelstra, visit lifeway.com/isaiah.

Endnotes

1. John N. Oswalt, Isaiah, The NIV Application Commentary (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2003), 72.

2. Geoffrey W. Grogan, Isaiah-Ezekiel, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Vol. 6. ed. Frank E. Gaebelein (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1986), 29.

3. “Qadowsh,” Strong’s: 6918. Accessed online at www.biblestudytools.com.

4. “Elohim,” Strong’s: H430. Accessed online at blueletterbible.org.

5. “Yatsar,” Strong’s: 3335. Accessed online at www.biblestudytools.com.

6. J. Alec Motyer, Isaiah: An Introduction and Commentary, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries, Vol. 20 (Downers Grove: Intervarsity Press, 1999), 87.