20-6 Little Town of Bethlehem

listen not
Listen to Little Town of Bethlehem

O holy Child of Bethlehem,
descend to us, we pray,
cast out our sin and enter in,
be born in us today.

Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel. (Is. 7:14)

David’s descendant, King Jotham, who “did what was right in the sight of the Lord (2 Chron. 27:2) had a son, Ahaz, who “did not do what was right in the sight of the LORD his God” (2 Kings 16:2). Syria and Israel had joined forces against Ahaz and Ahaz fears he will be dethroned and forced to join them if he does not obey his enemies. God has a plan. He sends Isaiah and his son, Shear-Jashub, whose name means “A remnant shall remain,” to warn Ahaz not to join them but to trust God to remove his enemies from the land. If Ahaz heeds the prophet’s words his nation will become a remnant that shall remain. He will know hope. Ahaz hears Isaiah’s prophecy: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel”, God with us. Ahaz refuses to seek direction from the Lord, he refuses to heed Isaiah’s message. God’s temple is destroyed, its treasuries relinquished to the enemy, his people and his kingdom desecrated. It looks as though the line of David, hope of Israel, will perish under this ungodly king. But Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled. God sent His Son, Immanuel.

Do we not see a similar story unfolding when we look at our nation today, 3000 years after Isaiah’s prophecy? Our enemies are enticing us to make alliances with them. Everywhere we hear, we see, we feel the pressure to join. The Lord sent a prophet and the prophet’s son to warn Ahaz not to join the enemy. The Lord has given us His Word to warn us. He has given us His Son, Immanuel, God with us, that we would have hope. He has even given us a Helper, the Holy Spirit, that we would have the victory in the battle we must fight.

Ahaz trusted Syria, saying “I am your servant and your son. Come and save me.” (2 Ki. 16:7). His story ends in defeat, his nation in poverty, subject to their enemy. When you read the Scriptures, do you ‘hear’ the same warning Ahaz heard? Will you look to your enemy for salvation as Ahaz did or will you look to Isaiah’s prophecy, to God’s Word, to Immanuel? When you do, you will not find Isaiah’s son, but God’s Own Son, Jesus. You will know hope. You will become part of the remnant that remains. Let this be your heartfelt prayer, like never before, “O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray, cast out our sin and enter in, be born in us today.”