But Ahaz replied, "I will not ask; I will not test the LORD."
How often men, like Ahaz, arrive at decisions which are irrevocable and unspeakably momentous!
We are to understand that Ahaz had already made up his mind to resort to Assyria for help; probably he had even already sent his ambassadors to Tiglath-Pileser, and he would not be deterred from his purpose by any promise or threatening of Jehovah's But he dissembled, and tried to get out of his difficulty by hypocritically pretending that he was deterred from asking a sign by a religious fear of tempting the Lord. His words sound as if he were humble and reverent; his heart was strong in its self-willed purposes. He says, "Neither will I tempt the Lord," as if it could be a tempting of God to do that which God directed and invited him to do. Remember that, in such passages as this, the word "tempt" means, "Put God to the test, as if you doubted him." Dr. Kay, in 'Speaker's Commentary,' says, "In his estrangement of heart Ahaz had come to look on God as his enemy, as a dangerous person who was thwarting him in his most cherished plans, and from whom, therefore, it were best to stand entirely aloof. If he should ask a sign and it were to be granted him, would he not be bound by his own act and deed to confess the greatness of his past sins, to give up his politic plans for the future, to submit to the bends and fetters of the old cycle of religious teaching from which he had shaken himself free? 'Can we find some searching test by which true humility can be distinguished from false? (It is assumed that humility is explained and enforced as the proper attitude for man to take, and spirit for man to cherish, in the presence of God.)
I. TRUE HUMILITY SUBMITS AND OBEYS. If Ahaz had been truly humble, he would have responded at once to the Divine invitation. Illustrate from Moses shrinking from obedience to the commands which God gave him. True humility will always say, "If God has called me to do anything, I must do it; I can do it, and I may be quite sure his grace will be with me or the doing. True humility is bold unto obedience.
II. FALSE HUMILITY SUBMITS, BUT DOES NOT OBEY. This is precisely the attitude of Ahaz. He submits; he takes the humble posture; he speaks the humble words; lout he does not obey. His humility is but hypocrisy. Bishop Hall says, "Art imitates nature, and the nearer it comes to nature in its effects, it is the more excellent. Grace is the new nature of a Christian, and hypocrisy that art that counterfeits it; and the more exquisite it is in imitation it is the more plausible to men, but the more abominable to God. It may frame a spiritual man in image so to the life that not only others, but even the hypocrite himself, may admire it, and, favoring his own artifice, may be deceived so far as to say and to think it lives, and fall in love with it; but he is no less abhorred by the Searcher of hearts than pleasing to himself." And Matthew Henry says, "A secret disaffection to God is often disguised with the specious colors of respect to him; and those who are resolved that they will not trust God yet pretend that they will not tempt him." It may be impressed that the truly humble man is more jealous of God's honor than of his own, and therefore promptly submits and obeys; but the man who is not really humble is anxious about his own honor, and only makes a show of being jealous of God's. Ahaz needed this counsel, and so do we: "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time." And the greatest test of this great grace is - Does it lead its possessor to follow and obey? - R.T.
But Ahaz said, I will not ask.
? — Ahaz who looked on Jehovah not as his God, but only (like any of his heathen neighbours) as the god of Judaea, and as such inferior in the god of Assyria, and who had determined to apply to the King of Assyria, or perhaps had already applied to him as a more trustworthy helper than Jehovah in the present strait, declines to ask a sign, excusing himself by a canting use of the words of Moses, "Thou shalt not tempt Jehovah." He refused the sign, because he knew it would confirm the still struggling voice of his conscience; and that voice he had resolved not to obey, since it bade him give up the Assyrian, and trust in Jehovah henceforth.
is often disguised with the specious colours of respect to Him.
1. To have to make decisions that may be solemn in both these senses is one of the things that make the position of a ruler or statesmen so serious.
2. Every man is at some juncture celled to make a decision, the results of which to him individually will be of unspeakable importance; e.g., the young ruler. Every one of you will at some moment be called to decide for or against Christ, and the decision will be final and irreversible. The test may come to you in the shape of a temptation, appealing to some passion of the mind or lust of the flesh, and your eternal destiny may be determined by the manner in which you deal with that one temptation.
3. Like a railway train we are continually arriving at "points," and the manner in which we "take" them affects our whole after career.
PeopleAhaz, Aram, David, Immanuel, Isaiah, Jashub, Jotham, Pekah, Remaliah, Rezin, Shearjashub, Tabeal, Tabeel, Uzziah
PlacesAssyria, Damascus, Egypt, Euphrates River, Jerusalem, Samaria, Syria, Washer's Field
TopicsAhaz, Making, Request, Tempt, Test, Try
Outline1. Ahaz, being troubled with fear of Rezin and Pekah, is comforted by Isaiah
10. Ahaz, having liberty to choose a sign, and refusing it, has for a sign, Christ promised
17. His judgment is prophesied to come by Assyria
Dictionary of Bible ThemesIsaiah 7:12
5473 proof, through testing
Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name IMMANUEL , God with us. T here is a signature of wisdom and power impressed upon the works of God, which evidently distinguishes them from the feeble imitations of men. Not only the splendour of the sun, but the glimmering light of the glow-worm proclaims His glory. The structure and growth of a blade of grass, are the effects of the same power which produced the fabric of the heavens and the earth. In His Word likewise He is …
John Newton—Messiah Vol. 1
Honour and Glory unto Him.
IN Revelation V, that great worship scene, beginning some day in heaven and going on into future ages, we read of the Lamb to whom honor and glory are due. He alone is worthy. And every heart who knows Him rejoicing in His love, cries out, "Thou art worthy!" Yea, the sweetest song for the redeemed soul is the outburst of praise, which we find on the threshold of His own Revelation. "Unto Him that loveth us and washed us from our sins in His own blood and hath made us kings and priests unto God and …
Arno Gaebelein—The Lord of Glory
Estimate of St. Augustin.
Augustin, the man with upturned eye, with pen in the left hand, and a burning heart in the right (as he is usually represented), is a philosophical and theological genius of the first order, towering like a pyramid above his age, and looking down commandingly upon succeeding centuries. He had a mind uncommonly fertile and deep, bold and soaring; and with it, what is better, a heart full of Christian love and humility. He stands of right by the side of the greatest philosophers of antiquity and of …
St. Augustine—The Confessions and Letters of St
On Turning the First Page of the Review which Follows...
On turning the first page of the review which follows, follows, "by Rowland Williams, D.D. Vice-Principal and Professor of Hebrew, St. David's College, Lampeter; Vicar of Broad Chalke, Wilts,"--we are made sensible that we are in company of a writer considerably in advance of Dr. Temple, though altogether of the same school. In fact, if Dr. Williams had not been Vice-Principal of a Theological College, and a Doctor of Divinity, one would have supposed him to be a complete infidel,--who found it convenient …
John William Burgon—Inspiration and Interpretation
Gihon, the Same with the Fountain of Siloam.
I. In 1 Kings 1:33,38, that which is, in the Hebrew, "Bring ye Solomon to Gihon: and they brought him to Gihon"; is rendered by the Chaldee, "Bring ye him to Siloam: and they brought him to Siloam." Where Kimchi thus; "Gihon is Siloam, and it is called by a double name. And David commanded, that they should anoint Solomon at Gihon for a good omen, to wit, that, as the waters of the fountain are everlasting, so might his kingdom be." So also the Jerusalem writers; "They do not anoint the king, but …
John Lightfoot—From the Talmud and Hebraica
Letter vi (Circa A. D. 1127) to the Same
To the Same He protests against the reputation for holiness which is attributed to him, and promises to communicate the treatises which he has written. I. Even if I should give myself to you entirely that would be too little a thing still in my eyes, to have recompensed towards you even the half of the kindly feeling which you express towards my humility. I congratulate myself, indeed, on the honour which you have done me; but my joy, I confess, is tempered by the thought that it is not anything …
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux—Some Letters of Saint Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux
The Debt of Irenæus to Justin Martyr
If we are to proceed with safety in forming a judgment as to the relation between Justin and Irenæus in respect of the matter which they have in common, it will be necessary not merely to consider a number of selected parallels, but also to examine the treatment of a particular theme in the two writers. Let us set side by side, for example, c. 32 of Justin's First Apology with c. 57 of the Demonstration. Justin has been explaining to his Roman readers who the Jewish prophets were, and then …
Irenæus—The Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching
Bunsen's Biblical Researches.
When geologists began to ask whether changes in the earth's structure might be explained by causes still in operation, they did not disprove the possibility of great convulsions, but they lessened necessity for imagining them. So, if a theologian has his eyes opened to the Divine energy as continuous and omnipresent, he lessens the sharp contrast of epochs in Revelation, but need not assume that the stream has never varied in its flow. Devotion raises time present into the sacredness of the past; …
Frederick Temple—Essays and Reviews: The Education of the World
Jewish views on Trade, Tradesmen, and Trades' Guilds
We read in the Mishnah (Kidd. iv. 14) as follows: "Rabbi Meir said: Let a man always teach his son a cleanly and a light trade; and let him pray to Him whose are wealth and riches; for there is no trade which has not both poverty and riches, and neither does poverty come from the trade nor yet riches, but everything according to one's deserving (merit). Rabbi Simeon, the son of Eleazer, said: Hast thou all thy life long seen a beast or a bird which has a trade? Still they are nourished, and that …
Alfred Edersheim—Sketches of Jewish Social Life
Redemption for Man Lost to be Sought in Christ.
1. The knowledge of God the Creator of no avail without faith in Christ the Redeemer. First reason. Second reason strengthened by the testimony of an Apostle. Conclusion. This doctrine entertained by the children of God in all ages from the beginning of the world. Error of throwing open heaven to the heathen, who know nothing of Christ. The pretexts for this refuted by passages of Scripture. 2. God never was propitious to the ancient Israelites without Christ the Mediator. First reason founded on …
John Calvin—The Institutes of the Christian Religion
Q-II: WHAT RULE HAS GOD GIVEN TO DIRECT US HOW WE MAY GLORIFY AND ENJOY HIM? A: The Word of God, which is contained in the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him. 2 Tim 3:16. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God,' By Scripture is understood the sacred Book of God. It is given by divine inspiration; that is, the Scripture is not the contrivance of man's brain, but is divine in its origin. The image of Diana was had in veneration …
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity
The Mercy of God
The next attribute is God's goodness or mercy. Mercy is the result and effect of God's goodness. Psa 33:5. So then this is the next attribute, God's goodness or mercy. The most learned of the heathens thought they gave their god Jupiter two golden characters when they styled him good and great. Both these meet in God, goodness and greatness, majesty and mercy. God is essentially good in himself and relatively good to us. They are both put together in Psa 119:98. Thou art good, and doest good.' This …
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity
The Plan for the Coming of Jesus.
God's Darling, Psalms 8:5-8.--the plan for the new man--the Hebrew picture by itself--difference between God's plan and actual events--one purpose through breaking plans--the original plan--a starting point--getting inside. Fastening a Tether inside: the longest way around--the pedigree--the start. First Touches on the Canvas: the first touch, Genesis 3:15.--three groups of prediction--first group: to Abraham, Genesis 12:1-3; to Isaac, Genesis 26:1-5; to Jacob, Genesis 28:10-15; through Jacob, …
S. D. Gordon—Quiet Talks about Jesus
LESSON I. 1. In what state was the Earth when first created? 2. To what trial was man subjected? 3. What punishment did the Fall bring on man? 4. How alone could his guilt be atoned for? A. By his punishment being borne by one who was innocent. 5. What was the first promise that there should be such an atonement?--Gen. iii. 15. 6. What were the sacrifices to foreshow? 7. Why was Abel's offering the more acceptable? 8. From which son of Adam was the Seed of the woman to spring? 9. How did Seth's …
Charlotte Mary Yonge—The Chosen People
Commencement of the Legends Concerning Jesus --His Own Idea of his Supernatural Character.
Jesus returned to Galilee, having completely lost his Jewish faith, and filled with revolutionary ardor. His ideas are now expressed with perfect clearness. The innocent aphorisms of the first part of his prophetic career, in part borrowed from the Jewish rabbis anterior to him, and the beautiful moral precepts of his second period, are exchanged for a decided policy. The Law would be abolished; and it was to be abolished by him. The Messiah had come, and he was the Messiah. The kingdom of God …
Ernest Renan—The Life of Jesus
Of Faith. The Definition of It. Its Peculiar Properties.
1. A brief recapitulation of the leading points of the whole discussion. The scope of this chapter. The necessity of the doctrine of faith. This doctrine obscured by the Schoolmen, who make God the object of faith, without referring to Christ. The Schoolmen refuted by various passages. 2. The dogma of implicit faith refuted. It destroys faith, which consists in a knowledge of the divine will. What this will is, and how necessary the knowledge of it. 3. Many things are and will continue to be implicitly …
John Calvin—The Institutes of the Christian Religion
Jesus Makes his First Disciples.
(Bethany Beyond Jordan, Spring a.d. 27.) ^D John I. 35-51. ^d 35 Again on the morrow [John's direct testimony bore fruit on the second day] John was standing, and two of his disciples [An audience of two. A small field; but a large harvest]; 36 and he looked [Gazed intently. The word is used at Mark xiv. 67; Luke xxii. 61 Mark x. 21, 27. John looked searchingly at that face, which, so far as any record shows, he was never to see on earth again. The more intently we look upon Jesus, the more powerfully …
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel
The Upbringing of Jewish Children
The tenderness of the bond which united Jewish parents to their children appears even in the multiplicity and pictorialness of the expressions by which the various stages of child-life are designated in the Hebrew. Besides such general words as "ben" and "bath"--"son" and "daughter"--we find no fewer than nine different terms, each depicting a fresh stage of life. The first of these simply designates the babe as the newly--"born"--the "jeled," or, in the feminine, "jaldah"--as in Exodus 2:3, 6, 8. …
Alfred Edersheim—Sketches of Jewish Social Life
CHAPTERS I-XXXIX Isaiah is the most regal of the prophets. His words and thoughts are those of a man whose eyes had seen the King, vi. 5. The times in which he lived were big with political problems, which he met as a statesman who saw the large meaning of events, and as a prophet who read a divine purpose in history. Unlike his younger contemporary Micah, he was, in all probability, an aristocrat; and during his long ministry (740-701 B.C., possibly, but not probably later) he bore testimony, as …
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament
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