Ahaz was King of Judah, ruling God’s people for a period of 16 years in the mid-eighth century B.C. Ahaz was the son of King Jotham, a godly man who tried desperately to get the people to follow God, but was flatly unsuccessful during his reign. When Ahaz became ruler at just 20 years old, he pulled the people farther from God by establishing false pagan practices, burning incense to pagan gods, erecting altars in the Temple to false gods, making and worshiping idols, paying foreign kings with treasures from the Temple, and even offering two of his own sons in human sacrifice to pagan gods. God sent prophets to Ahaz to have him reconcile with the Father, but Ahaz refused to listen and obey; he was more concerned about his material pleasures and worldly profits, glamor, and prestige, then he was about his soul, God’s People, and righteousness. Many consider Ahaz to be the most wicked king in all of Israel’s history.
The Prophet Isaiah counseled King Ahaz that he must trust in God, not man. Isaiah tells him that God will protect his people, but Ahaz has no faith in God; all his trust has been relinquished to the things and people of his world. As regional tensions grew, Judah was being threatened by surrounding kings, but instead of seeking God’s assistance, Ahaz sought to become subservient to the Assyrians, attempting to form an alliance with them instead of trusting God.
God, in his mercy and graciousness, was willing to give King Ahaz a sign so that he could believe and trust in the Lord, but Ahaz rejected him. Isaiah spoke to Ahaz as the representative of David’s family line of descendants, saying that the Chosen People will be given a sign of God’s faithfulness: “The virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel.” (NAB, IS 7:14) Jesus is the sign of God’s love and faithfulness; he is the sign of redemption to all. And yet, he is much more than a sign, he is the perfection of love and all the virtues.
Heavenly Father, do not let me be seduced and trapped by the glamor, glitter, prestige, and profits of this world. Allow me to place my trust in you, and you alone. You have given me the sign of fidelity, your Son, my Savior and my Lord. Let me hear and live according to the words of your Prophet Isaiah, to be not afraid, and to allow me to let go and let you, Almighty God, fight and win my battles in this world. Jesus, I trust in you. Amen.