Tuesday of Advent IV – Isaiah 7:10-17 

10 Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, 11 “Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven.” 12 But Ahaz said, “I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test.” 13 And he said, “Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary men, that you weary my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. 15 He shall eat curds and honey when he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good. 16 For before the boy knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land whose two kings you dread will be deserted. 17 The Lord will bring upon you and upon your people and upon your father’s house such days as have not come since the day that Ephraim departed from Judah—the king of Assyria.”

My father aspired to be a farmer when the call came to him to be a pastor. But the farmer never really left him. He had a garden throughout my childhood and well into his retirement. It was his last parish, before retirement, however, which might have given him the amplest opportunity to express his farmer nature. It came with a small acreage attached to the parsonage for the pastor’s use. My father, who grew up milking cows, quickly bought a cow, a Jersey who was named Ginger.

Before long we were making butter, ice cream, and drinking lots of milk. We could not keep up. Our cat was growing enormous. We needed to find some way to deal with the excess dairy. My parents discovered that making cottage cheese was relatively simple. We soon added it to our diets.

Isaiah says that the child which will be born will eat curds and honey before he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good. For Ahaz, who was facing an enemy at the gate and a prolonged siege of his city, the thought of a child eating curds must have been preposterous. One only makes curds when you have too much milk. They were already rationing food. But Isaiah speaks of a great reversal. That would come when another virgin bore a son, this One named Jesus. Besieged by sin and death, our prospects looked far grimmer than Ahaz and the people of Jerusalem when Isaiah confronted him in this text. Earlier in the chapter it says that his heart and the hearts of all the residents of Jerusalem were shaking like leaves on a tree. God gave Isaiah and us eyes to see something else, God’s great work. The enemies that faced Ahaz that day were soon defeated. The enemies who continue to wage war against us are also defeated in Christ. We await His return in glory, then we shall witness their last and eternal destruction. We yearn for that day.

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