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Monday, December 20, 2010

Should You Ask God For A Sign This Christmas?

Stained glass window
It's the season of signs.  And the virgin birth is one of the greatest signs of all times – foretold over 700 years before the birth of Jesus.  So, how did this sign come about?  Did somebody ask for it?

Just the opposite.

Back in the 8th Century BC, when the virgin birth was foretold through the prophet Isaiah, God actually tells King Ahaz to ask for a sign.

Ask the Lord your God for a sign. (Isaiah 7:10-11)

Remarkably, Ahaz blows God off.

“I will not ask; I will not put the Lord to the test.” (Isaiah 7:12)

On its face, it sounds like a pretty good answer.  After all, who wants to test God?  Maybe we shouldn’t bother him by asking him for signs.

But deep down, Ahaz didn’t want a sign.  Underneath his pious answer, he was probably thinking, I don’t need to hear from God.  I already have it figured out.  I'm going to get out of this mess without God's help.

Let’s just say God wasn’t very happy with his response.  The prophet Isaiah scolds Ahaz, “Will you try the patience of my God also?” (v. 13b)

But God doesn’t stop there.  He goes on to reveal his master plan.  He tells Ahaz about the sign of all signs.

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. (v. 14)

But Ahaz misses it.  He acts against the counsel of Isaiah.  He strikes a deal with his enemies, the Assyrians.  They turn on him.  And history tells us that it costs him his kingdom.

All because he wouldn’t ask for a sign. 
The good news?  God doesn’t stop with Ahaz.  Some 700 years later, he brings the sign to pass through a young virgin.  With or without Ahaz, he continues his plan.
I don't know about you, but I don't want to be like Ahaz.   Maybe it's time to ask for a sign.

Why not ask God to show up this Christmas? 

4 comments:

shrinkingthecamel.com said...

Yes, God will accomplish his bigger purposes with or without us agreeing to go along with it. But I think we can be so transformed when we start looking beyond ourselves, seeking, finding ways to contribute. I like the idea of looking for signs. It helps us to pay attention.

David Rupert said...

I think about when Jesus said an "evil and adulterous" gneration will ask for a sign.

"if only He would....then I woudl beleive" is a sham. Even if he were to show up Himself in the flesh, they still wouldnt believe.

See?

Susan DiMickele said...

It's a good point David. Signs don't bring faith. But I do think that God uses signs for those of us who believe -- or want to believe -- to help us along the way. More often than not, we don't ask for it or expect it. I think we're even afraid to ask.

I too have thought about the fact that Jesus scolds others for demanding a sign.

A demand and an ask are different. I think.

LisaShaw said...

Thanks for sharing!

I came by to wish you and yours a beautiful and blessed Christmas!