Believe or Bust!


Audio of sermon: 

Isaiah 7:9 (KJV) …. If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established.

We’ve been working our way through the Book of Isaiah. Last week we saw that God’s Church is His Garden, and His people His Beloved. We also saw that God calls His people – saved by faith in Christ – to speak the Gospel for His sake. We talked about how God often allows tragedy and valleys to come to our lives to cause us to look up, to trust in Him.

Choose To Serve God, Not Sin

It is in the storms of life that we gather together under the Rock that is our God.
He is our Shelter. He loves us so.

Last week we saw that King Uzziah – a good King who became prideful – died. This brought about national mourning. In the midst of this mourning Isaiah looked up and saw that God was still in control. God is always in control. Oh, that we believed that!

In Chapter 7 we are introduced to King Ahaz, the son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah. Uzziah was a king who loved the Lord but became prideful, so God brought him low. Uzziah’s son Jotham ruled in his place, and Jotham was a good king who loved the Lord as well. Jotham built the upper gates of the Temple, but Jotham was a compromiser. Though he loved the Lord he did not destroy the pagan shrines. Jotham is a picture of the disobedient Church in the world today who, rather than profess God’s Word, tries to compromise with the darkness. It is through compromise to God’s Word – unlawful Compromise – that sexual and forbidden sins of every stripe have entered the Church today. God showed Jotham what He thought of compromise with the darkness by sending invading forces against Israel.

When you depart from God in a small way it has a ripple effect.
You may disobey God in a small way, but in time it balloons and grows.
A LITTLE LEAVEN leavens the whole lump (Galatians 5:9).
A LITTLE GOSSIP snowballs and destroys a life.
A LITTLE LIE comes back to haunt you.
A LITTLE ARROGANCE grows into outright narcissism.
A LITTLE FIRE CRACKER clenched in your fist may seem to be harmless,
but a LITTLE SPARK can cause it to blow a finger off.
There is nothing LITTLE about SIN and UNBELIEF.

So along comes Ahaz. His grandfather Uzziah became arrogant and tried to offer a sacrifice to God in the Temple. He became leprous for his trouble. His son watched Uzziah suffer for arrogance, so Jotham went in the other direction. He became so timid he wouldn’t even stand up for what God told him to do, and allowed idolatry in his kingdom.

Jotham was in a position to fix the evil, but looked away and ignored it.
And wickedness grew.

Then he had a son called ….

“Ahaz”. His name is the Hebrew verb אחז (ahaz), meaning “to take hold of, seize or grasp, to take possession of”. Ahaz had no faith in God. He was materialistic and greedy and idolatrous. The Bible tells us that Ahaz …

2 Kings 21:6 (CSB) … burned his son as an offering and used fortune-telling and omens and dealt with mediums and with necromancers. He did much evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking him to anger. (also see 2 Kings 16:3-4)

The Enduring Word Commentary states …

The pagan god (or, demon, more accurately) Molech was worshipped by heating a metal statue representing the god until it was red hot, then placing a living infant on the outstretched hands of the statue, while beating drums drowned out the screams of the child until it burned to death.”

Ahaz would have killed his son Hezekiah – the next in line to be king – but Hezekiah was hidden and saved by his mother. Under Ahaz the kingdom of Judah became corrupt, wandering far from the Lord. So the Lord brought judgment on Judah. Which brings us where you should be in Isaiah 7.

Isaiah 7:1-2 (KJV)  And it came to pass in the days of Ahaz the son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, king of Judah, that Rezin the king of Syria, and Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, went up toward Jerusalem to war against it, but could not prevail against it.  [2]  And it was told the house of David, saying, Syria is confederate with Ephraim. And his heart was moved, and the heart of his people, as the trees of the wood are moved with the wind.

Trials Get Our Attention

God often allows tragedy to come to a people to cause them to stop and look up. We all need to be following the Lord. Judah and it’s king had drifted from the King of Kings and Lord of Lord. Now here is a threat, a terrible threat. Syria and Israel are coming after Judah.

Syria is a picture of the unbelieving secular world.
Northern Israel is a picture of the unbelieving religious world.

These unbelieving worlds bind themselves together, and they are coming after Judah and its king. I love that phrase:

his heart was moved, and the heart of his people,
as the trees of the wood are moved with the wind

Jesus used the picture of the trees moving in the wind as a picture of the Holy Spirit operating in the lives of people. Jesus told a religious unbeliever called Nicodemus:

John 3:6-8 (KJV) That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.   [7]   Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.   [8]   The WIND BLOWETH WHERE IT LISTETH, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

You must be born again. You must be moved by God. When Ahaz and Judah heard that defeat and death was coming their hearts – so sure of themselves – were moved. They weren’t moved by God’s Spirit, but were moved by fear of what was coming. There was something greater than they that was looming overhead. They were not with God – and their own strength could not prevail. What can they do?

Though Ahaz and Judah were hard hearted the Lord had compassion on that nation. The Lord told Isaiah to go and tell them:

Isaiah 7:4-7 (KJV)  And say unto him, Take heed, and be quiet; fear not, neither be fainthearted for the two tails of these smoking firebrands, for the fierce anger of Rezin with Syria, and of the son of Remaliah.  [5]  Because Syria, Ephraim, and the son of Remaliah, have taken evil counsel against thee, saying,  [6]  Let us go up against Judah, and vex it, and let us make a breach therein for us, and set a king in the midst of it, even the son of Tabeal:

[7]  Thus saith the Lord GOD, It shall not stand, neither shall it come to pass.

God said “Do not fear, and do not be faint hearted”. Though these were two mighty nations God called them “two tails of these smoking firebrands”. What that means is “two pieces of smoking wood that are just about to go out”. God is in control. God loves us. God calls to us. God promises to be with us, and to protect us, and guide us. But we must listen to God. We must believe God.

The Blessings Of God Come Only When We Believe Him

Our God deserves to be believed. He is God, and as God He cannot lie.

Numbers 23:19 (CSB) GOD IS NOT A MAN, THAT HE MIGHT LIE, or a son of man, that he might change his mind. Does he speak and not act, or promise and not fulfill?

What God has said, He will do. What God has seen comes to pass. God told Ahaz “these two nations are embers burning out in the campfire” but then God says this:

Isaiah 7:9 (KJV) …. If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established.

If you will not believe God, the blessing is not there.

1 John 5:10 (CSB) … The one who does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony God has given about his Son.

God has always spoken truth. When He told Adam:

Genesis 2:17 (CSB) … you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for on the day you eat from it, you will certainly die.

Adam ate. Did he die? Yes, he died immediately spiritually when he dishonored God. “By one man sin entered the world, and death by sin” (Romans 5:12). When God told Noah “My Spirit will not strive with man forever, yet his days shall be 120 years” did He lie? No. 120 years after God told Noah to build an Ark the world flooded, and all died but those on the Ark. God has never told a lie. It is impossible for Him to lie.

Proverbs 30:5 (ESV) Every word of God proves true; He is a shield to those who take refuge in him.

Psalm 33:4 (NLT) For the word of the Lord holds true, and we can trust everything He does.

God is true to His Word for He is true to Himself. He will not lie, nor recant His promise. God told Ahaz “believe me and you’ll be established. But if you will not believe, you shall not be established.”

People have doubted God’s Word before. But God says to them the same thing He said to Ahaz:

Isaiah 7:11 (KJV)  Ask thee a sign of the LORD thy God;
ask it either in the depth, or in the height above.

God says “Try Me. Try and see if I am not true to My Word.” It is evil to provoke God, or to do that which dishonors Him, but God calls out to us saying:

Isaiah 1:18-20 (KJV)  Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.  [19]  If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:  [20]  But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.

The Lord says:

Psalms 34:8 (KJV)  O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.

To BELIEVE in God is to try Him, to bring Him intimately into your life. When I came my my office Monday morning I found a doughnut sitting on a plate with a fork in it sitting outside my office. As I looked at the doughnut – never eaten but sitting there wasted – the Lord spoke to my heart. I felt like the Lord was saying “That’s how many people treat Me. They hear My Word. They put it on a plate, stick a fork in it, then walk away never eating it.”

Isaiah 7:9 (KJV) …. If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established.

There is no blessing in a half belief. Jesus told those who followed after Him:

John 6:51-58 (KJV)   I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.   [52]  The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?  [53]  Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.   [54]   Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.   [55]   For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.   [56]   He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.   [57]   As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.   [58]   This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.

Believing God is receiving Him as if His Word is food. Believing God is not just HEARING but DOING what He says. You can look at a picture of food all day long but it will never satisfy your hunger. You can look at a bottle of water all day long but it will never satisfy your thirst. Believing God means to reach out to the promise, to take it to yourself, to try and do what God said try and do.

Faith in God means to cross the Jordan without first sending out spies.
Faith in God means to cross the Jordan, believing God is greater than the enemy.
Faith in God means advancing to the high ground with Him WHEN HE SAYS.
Faith in God means intimately taking Him into your life,
For His flesh is meat indeed, and His Blood is drink indeed.

God told Ahaz “Ask Me for a sign if you need it, and I will grant it”. How did Ahaz respond?

Isaiah 7:12 (KJV)  But Ahaz said, I will not ask,
neither will I tempt the LORD.

You are not tempting God when you do what He says. You are tempting God when you do NOT do what He says. The judge Gideon was fearful of following God, so he asked a fleece of the Lord. The Lord never rebuked Gideon, and will not rebuke you. Isaiah said to Ahaz:

Isaiah 7:13 (KJV)  And he said, Hear ye now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also?

Do you know the Bible says:

Isaiah 40:28 (ESV) …. The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary;

God is never weary or tired, exhausted from anything that He does. The Lord rested on the seventh day to show us that He wanted us to rest one day a week, to take time and worship Him (for He is worthy).

Labor does not weary God.

In fact, unbelief and hard heartedness wearies US. But when we trust in the Lord and do as He says the Bible says:

Isaiah 40:31 (ESV) but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

Faith in God empowers us for living.

The Sign Of The Virgin Birth

Ahaz refused to trust God or even ask God for a sign, so God gave Ahaz a sign. What is interesting about this sign is that it was not given specifically just to Ahaz, but to the House of David, Judah.

This is the prophecy of the Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Let’s end with this wonderful sign.

Isaiah 7:14-16 (KJV)  Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.  [15]  Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good.  [16]  For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings.

The Lord Himself shall give you a sign”. The House of David, Judah, would have a sign, a miraculous sign from God.

Behold, a VIRGIN shall conceive”. Some have tried to twist this passage to say that the Hebrew ALMAH (which is rendered “Virgin”) could be “a young woman”. That’s stupid. God is going to show Judah a miracle, and there is no miracle in a young woman conceiving. 360,000 babies are born every day worldwide, or about 15,000 per hour or 250 per minute, or 4 per second. There is no miracle in young women conceiving! But a VIRGIN conceiving is a miracle! Life would come from where life had not been.

A VIRGIN shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call His name IMMANUEL”. The name “IMMANUEL” means “God with us”. God would enter humanity through a Virgin. How would we know He is God?

The King James in verse 15 is a little hard to understand. A better translation is the New American Standard here …

He will eat curds and honey at the time
He knows enough to refuse evil and choose good.

What does that mean? In ancient times babies were first fed mother’s milk, then milk curd and honey. Milk curd and honey is much like we would consider Gerber Baby Food today. From the time this Son left His mother’s milk and began to eat His first solid foods He would know enough to refuse evil and choose good. This is not normal in a child, but this is supernatural. This is God in the flesh, God with us.

This prophecy was fulfilled in Jesus Christ. He was born of a Virgin (Matthew 1:23). The Holy Spirit came upon the Virgin Mary, and through God’s power she conceived the Christ (Luke 1:35). The Word of God Who was in the beginning with God (John 1:1-2) “became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). God became Man, perfect Man, so that He could lead us to Himself. Of this miracle the Apostle said:

1 Timothy 3:16 (KJV)  And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

Oh, that you would believe on Him! Oh, that you would receive Him as Lord and Savior. God finished by telling Ahaz …

BEFORE the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings

Before the Child comes the land of Israel will fall, and Jerusalem will lose both of her kings. She will lose the King of Judah, and she will lose the King of Kings. Why? Because of unbelief.

Isaiah 7:9 (KJV) …. If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established.

Without faith you cannot be blessed. Without faith you cannot be saved. Without faith God cannot give you His promise of eternal life and peace. Receive Him. Believe that He was born in this life for you, incarnate for you. Trust Him and see.

God will bless you!

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
This entry was posted in General, Isaiah, Jesus, prophecy, salvation, Sermons Preached, sin and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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