The Virgin Birth — Isaiah 7:14


      The Lord God promised to send a Deliverer to his people, and said to Ahaz, “Ask thee a sign of the Lord thy God: ask it either in the depth, or in the height above” (v. 11). But Ahaz refused to ask the Lord for a sign, saying, with an air of self-righteous indignation, “I will not ask, neither will I tempt the Lord” (v. 12). To that Isaiah replied, “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign: Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good.”


      The Deliverer spoken of and promised in this chapter was no mere temporal deliverer from temporal bondage and trouble. The Deliverer spoken of here is the great God, our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. We know that because God the Holy Spirit tells us plainly that Isaiah 7:14 is one of the many Old Testament promises of our Savior’s incarnation (Matthew 1:18-23).


      Isaiah 7:14 is a prophecy of the virgin birth of our Redeemer. None of us knows the date of our Savior’s birth. God has wisely hidden it from men. The one day of the year that it could not have been is December 25th. Christmas day has nothing to do with the birth of Christ. But this text does describe a glorious birthday. It is true, Mary’s child was born in a manger, in humility and poverty; but none ever had a birthday like his. His birthday was anticipated by saints and prophets for four thousand years. All the Old Testament pointed to Immanuel’s advent. God hung a fresh lamp in the sky to announce his birth. The angelic hosts came down to sing at his birth. And shepherds and wise men came to bring presents to the Prince of the kings of the earth when he was born. Isaiah 7:14 announces a glorious birthday. It announces the birth of a man who is the eternal Son of God, the Savior of the world (Isaiah 9:6-7).


      The prophet’s language speaks of a miraculous conception. — “Behold, a virgin shall conceive.” Our Savior is born, the Seed of the woman, conceived in the womb of the virgin Mary by the miraculous intervention of God the Holy Spirit (Galatians 4:4-6). His holy body was prepared in the womb of the virgin for the work he had come to do (Hebrews 10:4-5). Had he been born of the flesh, the Lord Jesus could have done nothing to save us.


      Isaiah’s prophecy also speaks of a humble parentage. Virginity was Mary’s highest honor. Though she was of the royal seed of David’s house, that was no great honor in her day. It gave her no special privilege, power, or position. Our Savior was born in poverty and lived in poverty all the days of his life, by his own choice. He taught us, by constant example, to despise the froth of worldly treasure and position. There is much encouragement here. He who was born in poverty will visit the poor in spirit. He who was laid in a rock manger will visit our hard, stony hearts. He who humbled himself will be the friend of humbled broken-hearted sinners.


      Isaiah’s words also imply something of God’s sovereign election. — “A virgin shall conceive.” There were, no doubt, many virgins in the world in those days, but God chose one, only one to be the agent through whom he would bring his Son into the world (Luke 1:26-33). — Mary was freely chosen of God. So are we. — Mary was highly favored by God. So we are “accepted in the Beloved.” — Mary was visited by God. So are we. — Mary had Christ formed in her. So do we. — Mary was blessed of God for Christ’s sake. So are we. — And, as Mary rejoiced in God her Savior, so do we (Luke 1:46-50).





Don Fortner



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