Isaiah 7:10-16 (NRSV)
Verse 10Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, saying, Verse 11Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven. Verse 12But Ahaz said, I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test. Verse 13Then Isaiah said: "Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary mortals, that you weary my God also? Verse 14Therefore 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. Verse 15He shall eat curds and honey by the time he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good. Verse 16For 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.
About 700 years before Christ was born, the nasty King Ahaz of Judah was facing hostile neighbors (the northern kingdom, Israel; Damascus; and Assyria). The prophet Isaiah offered Ahaz a vision to help him find a way out of his political mess. Ahaz did not want any advice but Isaiah gave it to him anyway: a sign of a young teen who would give birth to a Messiah — "the Deliverer." The story of Ahaz is an awkward one but its message is clear. God has things to say to us even when we do not want to hear. Those messages may come from places we never thought to look. Jesus Christ comes among us and lives among us as a clear sign from God: We will be delivered. Christ delivers us from our own ignorance and arrogance.
O beautiful One with the name Immanuel, thank you for knowing our stubbornness and our arrogance. Save us from being our own worst enemies. Amen.