This morning I was reading in the 7th chapter of Isaiah where God promised “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” (v. 14). This promise, in response to King Ahaz’s unbelief, came at a time when circumstances looked ominous for Israel. Enemy nations threatened and there was prophecy of destruction and darkness. The king to whom Isaiah was speaking probably did not realize the significance of the promise, but it not only foretold the Messiah, it indicated that a remnant of the nation of Israel would be preserved for God’s Son to be born. The nation would not be utterly destroyed. This did not mean that the hard times would not occur; it did mean that God would faithfully carry Israel through.
I then flipped over to the book of Luke in the New Testament and began reading about Zacharias, a priest who served God during the days of Herod (Luke 1:5). Zacharias was to become the father of the man we know as John the Baptist, who would point the way to the Messiah. This passage occurs hundreds of years after the promise that God gave in Isaiah, chapter 7, and it is the beginning of the gospel account of the birth of Jesus. What I found really interesting is that the name, Zacharias, means ‘Jehovah remembers’ or ‘the Lord recalled’. God never forgot the promise that He gave through Isaiah, and the time had come to keep it. The years between the promise and the fulfillment were filled with devastation and tribulation for Israel, and they gave us the examples of Nehemiah, Daniel, and other faithful followers of the Lord, who maintained their trust and confidence in God even through the discouraging times of the nation’s history. Though Israel’s journey was marked by war and captivity, disobedience and hardship, God was faithful. Now, He was ready to send His Son.
We often pray and claim God’s promises during times of conflict and trouble, and we wonder why God does not seem to answer right away. The examples that God gives us in His Word often show long waiting times. It is easy to become discouraged when we place our focus on circumstances that are out of our control, and no immediate solution appears. We struggle to see God working. We question His faithfulness.
God is faithful. We may not understand His timetable, but we can rest assured that He remembers. He will keep His promises. Our task during the time of waiting is to remain steadfast, assured in the goodness and trustworthiness of the Father. We do this by living each day, praying, focusing on His Word, and continuing His work.
The end result is not our responsibility; it is God’s. He is not finished yet, but He will accomplish His purpose.
Philippians 1: 6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: