The Native: He Keeps His Promises
2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
Can I ask you a question, contextually why does it matter who was governor of Syria? I ask this, not out of disrespect, but out of joy. If you say to give the setting a date, I would argue that Augustus’ decree in verse one could accomplish that. No, the reason for this, is intended, inspired, and inviting.
He recognized his own sins, his own mistakes, and he had received mercy.
Some argue about the date of Cyrenius rule as Governor of Syria. Some scholars suggest that when should be translated before. Others indicate that Cyrenius’ first responsibility in the region was the taxing, and that he would rise to governor.
No matter which opinion you are of, doesn’t lessen the importance of this verse. Frankly, the important meaning of it is not who was governor of Syria, or when he was the governor. The important part of this was that it reads governor and not king.
Isaiah 7: 1-2,13-16
1 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.
2 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.
13 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?
14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
15 Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good.
16 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.
To understand what I mean by this, we must go back many years. To another king, one attacked and surrounded by a confederacy of kings. He was scared, he was not where he should be with The Lord, and he knew that he deserved to die. Then the Prophet came to see him.
Isaiah could have brought news of judgement to the young king. He could have told him that God was going to allow his destruction, he didn’t. Isaiah one chapter before, had laid on his face before God. He recognized his own sins, his own mistakes, and he had received mercy.
Uzziah was Ahaz’ grandfather, so these chapters were not chronologically organized, they were inely placed. One would serve as a backdrop against another, you see Uzziah wasn’t perfect either. However, God sent Isaiah with a message of mercy. This was the same Prophet that The Lord spoke through saying, “Though your sins be as scarlet, I will make them white as snow.”
So Ahaz, fearful of destruction, was given a sign. He would not die by the hand of these kings, instead, those kings would be defeated. This was to take place before Immanuel would be born. Prior to the coming of The Merciful King, the merciless ones would be dust and ashes.
What is it that is bombarding your life today? Who, or what addiction reigns over you? Sin whispers that you’ve failed before, why try, you’ll just fail again. I submit to you, that is a lie. Your past mistakes do not dictate your future. Christ has come to make all things new. He dethroned and discarded a nation that threatened a very flawed king.
He can dethrone everything in your life that binds you, no matter your mistakes. His promise to Ahaz holds true to you and I today. He has come to give you life, and life more abundantly. If you are a believer, and your sins are behind you, do not spend your life regretting past mistakes. He has forgiven them, you must forgive yourself.
That’s why it’s called a New Testament, a new beginning.
If you desire a new life, don’t worry about all the things in your life that are wrong. First, come to Him, and let Him dethrone them. He knows how to overcome everything that you are facing. It all starts with a conversation with Jesus, it doesn’t end there, but that is your beginning.
Isaiah chapter seven goes on to say that Immanuel knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good. He knows how to separate you from your issues, even when you can’t yourself. I’ve seen the drug addict freed from his addictions. I’ve seen so many souls made new at the feet of The Master. That’s why it’s called a New Testament, a new beginning. This is the promise of freedom, and I can promise you from personal experience, He Keeps His Promises!