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It's Complicated!

It's complicated, as politics often are. Israel fell into civil war after the death of King Solomon, dividing the country into two nations. A couple hundred years later the 'Northern Kingdom' was being attacked by the Assyrians, so they made a defense pact with Syria. Together Syria and the Northern Kingdom wanted to set up a puppet king in the Southern Kingdom to add to their ranks - so they prepared to attack them. In response the king of the Southern Kingdom, Ahaz, snuck around to make a treaty with Assyria - choosing the devil over the deep blue sea. This was a bad idea, but love of neighbor didn't seem to be first on anybody's mind.

So, the prophet Isaiah goes to King Ahaz and tells him to back off with Assyria, and that King Rezin of Syria and whoever it was - King Pekah, I think - in the Northern Kingdom didn't have what it takes to beat him, and that Ahaz should just trust in God more. (Politian's rarely appreciate the advice of political commentators, so of course Ahaz just ignored Isaiah.) 

So - again - Isaiah tells King Ahaz to ask God for a sign, which he won't do, and in anger Isaiah says, "Then I'll just give you one! You see that young lady over there, the pregnant one? Well, she's going to have a son and she's going to name him Immanuel. And before the baby knows how to tell good from evil those two nobodies you're all afraid of are going fade away - and then the King of Assyria is going to come down here and beat the snot out of you!" (The Word of the Lord. Isaiah 7:14-17)

Way to lead, Ahaz!

Oh, did I forget to mention? This is our Old Testament Lesson for Sunday. My theme is "Wake up to Promise."

It appears to me that the person who actually "wakes up to promise" (literally) is Joseph. You see - now we're in the New Testament, Sunday's Gospel reading in fact, Matthew 1:18-25) - and so when Joseph finds out Mary (soon to be mother of Jesus) is pregnant, and knowing the baby isn't his, he decides to just break up quietly and go on his way. But in a dream an angel tells him that's not good enough, and that he needs to marry Mary and raise Jesus as his own son - which he actually does, amazingly enough! (Why Matthew thinks all of that has anything to do with King Ahaz and Isaiah I really don't know, but if you want to talk about waking up to promise. Well, there you go!!)

I'm also really pleased that there is at least one man in our Bible lessons this Sunday who might actually be considered a credit to his gender. I mean, sometimes I wonder.

Anyway, hope to see you Sunday.

Pr. Dave Brauer-Rieke



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