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Monday, December 4, 2017

Day 7: The Virgin Will Conceive and Bear a Son

Today's Scripture: Isaiah 7:14

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. - Isaiah 7:14

The Virgin Will Conceive and Bear a Son

The most quoted man in the history of sports is probably Yogi Berra. The legendary Yankees manager said some of the most memorable things anyone has ever said. Here are the Top 10 most memorable Yogi Berra quotes, according to USA Today:

1. When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

2. You can observe a lot by just watching.

3. It ain’t over till it’s over.

4. It’s like déjà vu all over again.

5. No one goes there nowadays, it’s too crowded.

6. Baseball is 90% mental and the other half is physical.

7. A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.

8. Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t come to yours.

9. We made too many wrong mistakes.

10. Congratulations. I knew the record would stand until it was broken.

I just thought that would be a lighter way to start off a Monday morning here on the first Monday in December.

On a more serious note, Isaiah is the most-quoted prophet of the coming of Jesus. Of all the prophets who foretold His coming, no one gets quoted more often in the New Testament, and no one is quoted more often in the Advent Season, than Isaiah. Over the next two weeks, we'll be looking at some of the best-known and most-beloved of Isaiah's prophecies of the coming of Christ.

The first comes in chapter 7 in an unusual and unexpected context. It was 734 years before the birth of Christ. King Ahaz and Jerusalem were facing two fierce opponents, who had united to mount an attach against them. King Rezin of Syria and King Pekah of Israel marched together on Judah. God sends Isaiah to Ahaz with words of assurance, but Ahaz is skeptical. God tells Ahaz to ask for a sign of God's promise, but Ahaz refuses, skeptical still. So God gives a sign and makes a promise beyond Ahaz's highest hopes and expectations:

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. - Isaiah 7:14

Isaiah 7:14 may have had a shorter-term fulfillment within the days of Hezekiah, a few decades after Isaiah 7. But as God often does, He had a bigger horizon and a more glorious fulfillment in view when He spoke these words through Isaiah.

Hundreds of years after the northern tribes of Israel were lost to Assyrian conquest, the true virgin would indeed conceive - quite miraculously! - and bear a Son. This Son would not just be a sign of God's favor on His people, but He would be Immanuel in the flesh, God with us in human form. In the end, Immanuel would defy everyone's expectations and "God with us" would resound from choirs and pulpits in every corner of the world.

Do you face enemies? We all do. We have not two but three fierce enemies united against us: the world, our own sinful flesh, and the devil himself with all his minions. These enemies are stronger and fiercer than we. They have slain countless thousands. What is our hope in the face of such enemies? Only this: Immanuel! God is with us. Christ lives in us by His Holy Spirit, and greater is He who is living in us than He who is in the world!

Heavenly Father, give us the grace to walk in the powerful hope of Immanuel! Let us walk in the joyful reality that Christ lives in us and we live in Him. We have peace with You and Your abiding presence in Your Holy Spirit. Thank You! In Jesus' name, Amen! 

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