December 17, 2013

O, Ahaz!

By Paul Keim, professor of Bible and religion
SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 7:10-16 (NRSV)

O, Ahaz! Scion of the house of David. You’re like the part of me that loves the forms of faith, but shies from the substance of it. You want to be taken care of, but cannot bring yourself to trust what you cannot see. Sitting on your ivory throne, all seized up by dangers real and conjured. Seeking refuge in false piety. Dancing on God’s last nerve – you prefer Assyria over a sign.

O, Ahaz! Mysteries abound: There is a young woman out there, perhaps from the royal house; perhaps the prophetic spouse. Or is she just a version . . . of our imagination? No matter. She is “expecting,” and she will bear a child, and name that child: God-Is-With-Us. And before that baby stops eating Greek yoghurt (here comes the point), in less time than it takes for it to know naughty and nice (we are approaching the point), those spectral dangers that disturb your sleep will have been swept away, and (voilà le point) the verbal shall become hominal.

O, Ahaz! Still groping to grasp the meaning of Immanuel. Still preferring your tired realpolitik. That child has come of age. Those former threats have passed (though new ones will emerge). Meanwhile, the freckled glow on the ruddy cheek of that child of promise should remind you every dawning day that no matter what the son of Ramaliah and his ilk are up to, God is about the baffling business of Being-With-Us.

SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 7:10-16 (NRSV)
Isaiah Gives Ahaz the Sign of Immanuel
Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, saying, “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.”
Then Isaiah said: ‘Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary mortals, that you weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel. He shall eat curds and honey by the time he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good. For before the child knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land before whose two kings you are in dread will be deserted.”



Comments (8)

  1. love toyr

    Raymond Martin December 17, 2013 |
    • I am Ahaz and I can give no earthly, and surely no heavenly reason for being this way. You undressed Ahaz and I can see quite well who I am. I want the hope That this child brings to open my eyes and change me.

      Raymond Martin December 19, 2013 |
  2. Nice to see your name come up on the schedule of this series.
    Wishing you and Julie joy in this season of Christmas. Edgar

    Edgar Stoesz December 17, 2013 |
  3. A lyrical poetic commentary projecting the past into the now.

    wally December 17, 2013 |
  4. Awesome!! Laughed at your comment about “getting on God’s last nerve.” Then the Holy Spirit reminded me of all the times I’d done that very thing.
    Thanks for sharing your insight on this beautiful passage.

    Dickie Siler December 17, 2013 |
  5. You captured the moment with grace then set it free for the rest of us. Namaste!

    jsue December 17, 2013 |
  6. Agreed to lyrical and poetic… Still need help on “hominal”… What is it, please?

    Elaine Kauffman December 18, 2013 |
    • human

      PK December 22, 2013 |