Battles and Babies - Fear and Faith
Battles and Babies: Fear and Faith (Isaiah 7:1-17)
What is the answer to man's battles? Christmas reminds us that God's baby is the answer to all man's battles. Isaiah 7; 9; and 11 predicted a coming, mysterious Somebody who would be the ultimate answer to all man's fearful battles. That coming Somebody would be God's baby, Immanuel, God with us (v. 14).
Man's Battles Bring Fear
What does a prophetic word from 2,700 years ago say about our world at Christmas 1986? It is filled with peculiar names from faraway places, yet it says much in every way.
Like Isaiah's times, our generation also lives with the fear of disaster. Isaiah's tiny nation, Judah, was faced with war from two powerful nations to the north, Syria and Israel. The modern equivalent would be twenty divisions of Russian soldiers camped just over the Canadian border!
With the ever-increasing threats to peace in 1986, it should be of comfort that Isaiah's first promise of the coming Christ was spoken in days looming with disaster. Anytime we fear men's battles, the ultimate answer is God's baby.
Like Isaiah's times, our generation fears inadequate defenses. Isaiah found the political leadership of his times anxiously examining the defenses of the country (v. 3). They were asking if they could withstand a siege that cut them off from their water supply. How much this is like Christmas 1986. The more things change, the more things stay the same. We, too, are concerned about the ultimate defense of our nation and ourselves.
For these fears, Isaiah had a word for those whose ultimate trust is in God. When we trust God, we can find that He is the Preserver of courage, the Disposer of adversaries (v. 4), and the Designer of destinies (vv. 8-9). But there is a worse fear than the fear of disaster.
The ultimate ground of all fear is the fear of unbelief. Our world and Isaiah's is troubled because there is no relief without belief: "If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all" (v. 9). God wants our belief as the only relief from fear. He will do anything He can to assist our belief (v. 11). His ultimate assistance to our faith is the sign of Immanuel: "This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger" (Luke 2:12).
God's Baby Brings Faith
The answer that God gives to man's battles is astounding: He confronts our battles with His Baby. Isaiah 7:14 foresaw a coming birth that would promise God alone can and will save His people. The only ultimate security is not in man's battles but in God's promised Baby. While Syrians and Israelites marched 2,700 years ago and while Russians and Iranians march today, God's response is the same. The ultimate outcome will not be with man's marchings but with God's Messiah.
God's cradled Christ is more than a sufficient answer to man's crying crisis. While others stand with the fear of Ahaz in the face of man's battles, let us stand with Isaiah looking toward God's Baby, the Christ, Immanuel, God with us.