Expositor's Dictionary of Texts
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.God with Us (Sunday after Christmas)
I. We may well say first, that all our best Christmas thoughts are summed up in this word. We think of the Holy Child not simply as heaven's gift to the world, but as the coming down of heaven itself into the world. 'Lo, I am with you alway,' is the alpha and omega of the Incarnation. 'Immanuel, God with us!' That is the very meat and drink of our faith. The gift that came to the world that first Christmas morning has never been withdrawn for a moment. It is perennial and inexhaustible, new every morning, fresh every evening.
II. The word comes to us with equal appropriateness as we consider the approaching close of the year. It comes laden with suggestions of gratitude, and musical too with prophetic voices of glad and assuring promise. You have often been conscious of the Divine hand upon you, and a thousand times when you were not conscious you have discovered afterwards that it was most surely there. He who has been as the shadow of a great rock behind,' as a covert from the tempest, as a guiding and protecting pillar of fire; He whose angel presence has journeyed with us through many a wilderness, and across many a divided sea, will just repeat Himself in the story which has yet to be written before our lives reach their final rest. Immanuel! there is no word like that. God with us. That is the best of all, it leaves nothing wanting.
III. And that is what we feel not only about ourselves but about the world at large. We might despair if we thought that God came and went, that Christ lived and died and vanished. But no thoughts of fear can ever disturb those who believe that the Incarnation meant a perpetual fact, a gift never recalled, a power that never ceases to work, a promise that is always hastening to its fulfilment There can be no doubt about the future of him whose faith is planted deep in and girded round by this truth of truths, 'Immanuel, God with us'.
—J. G. Greenhough, Christian Festivals and Anniversaries, p. 238.
References.—VII. 14.—"Plain Sermons" by contributors to the Tracts for the Times, vol. ix. p. 91. Canon Ainger, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xlvii. 1895, p. 12. VII. 14, 15.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xl. No. 2392. VIII. 6.—W. A. Gray, The Shadow of the Hand, p. 48. VIII. 6, 7.—A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture—Isaiah, p. 45. VIII. 11-20.—V. S. S. Coles, Advent Meditations on Isaiah I.-XII. p. 69. VIII. 17.—J. M. Neale, Sermons Preached in Sackville College Chapel, vol. i. p. 4. A. Murray, Waiting on God, p. 84. VIII. 18.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xx. No. 1194. VIII. 20.—J. H. Blake, Penny Pulpit, vol. xiv. No. 810, p. 166. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. iv. No. 172. VIII. 22.—V. S. S. Coles, Advent Meditations on Isaiah I.-XII. p. 73. IX. 1.—C. S. Robinson, Simon Peter, p. 89. IX. 1, 2.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxxvi. No. 2163. IX. 2.—A. MacLeod, Days of Heaven Upon Earth, p. 262. W. H. Lyttelton, Missionary Sermons at Hagley, p. 13. IX. 2-7.—A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture—Isaiah, p. 48. IX. 3.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxxviii. No. 2265. W. Michell, Plain Preaching to Poor People (5th Series), p. 1. J. Weller, Christian World Pulpit, vol. lii. 1897, p. 260. IX. 5, 6.—Lyman Abbott, ibid. vol. xlix. 1896, p. 20. A. P. Stanley, Sermons on Special Occasions, p. 34.
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.
Then said the LORD unto Isaiah, Go forth now to meet Ahaz, thou, and Shearjashub thy son, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool in the highway of the fuller's field;
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.
Because Syria, Ephraim, and the son of Remaliah, have taken evil counsel against thee, saying,
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:
Thus saith the Lord GOD, It shall not stand, neither shall it come to pass.
For the head of Syria is Damascus, and the head of Damascus is Rezin; and within threescore and five years shall Ephraim be broken, that it be not a people.
And the head of Ephraim is Samaria, and the head of Samaria is Remaliah's son. If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established.
Moreover the LORD spake again unto Ahaz, saying,
Ask thee a sign of the LORD thy God; ask it either in the depth, or in the height above.
But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt the LORD.
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?
Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good.
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 shall bring upon thee, and upon thy people, and upon thy father's house, days that have not come, from the day that Ephraim departed from Judah; even the king of Assyria.
And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall hiss for the fly that is in the uttermost part of the rivers of Egypt, and for the bee that is in the land of Assyria.
And they shall come, and shall rest all of them in the desolate valleys, and in the holes of the rocks, and upon all thorns, and upon all bushes.
In the same day shall the Lord shave with a rasor that is hired, namely, by them beyond the river, by the king of Assyria, the head, and the hair of the feet: and it shall also consume the beard.
And it shall come to pass in that day, that a man shall nourish a young cow, and two sheep;
And it shall come to pass, for the abundance of milk that they shall give he shall eat butter: for butter and honey shall every one eat that is left in the land.
And it shall come to pass in that day, that every place shall be, where there were a thousand vines at a thousand silverlings, it shall even be for briers and thorns.
With arrows and with bows shall men come thither; because all the land shall become briers and thorns.
And on all hills that shall be digged with the mattock, there shall not come thither the fear of briers and thorns: but it shall be for the sending forth of oxen, and for the treading of lesser cattle.