Okay so when your husband is in the bishopric you kind of assume that you will get asked to speak a little more than usual. He has been threatening to ask me for the past six months and I could not escape this Sunday. Actually I am glad that I accepted the call and searched the words of Isaiah.
My Christmas Talk, December 2009
In the days of Isaiah, Ahaz was king of Judah. The kings of Syria and Israel tried to persuade Ahaz to ally with them against Assyria, their neighboring superpower. The prophet Isaiah pleaded with Ahaz to trust the Lord for deliverance from the invading armies. The Lord extended a sign to Ahaz to demonstrate that the events surrounding the plot of Syria and Israel would occur precisely as Isaiah had prophesied. The sign, was to give Ahaz courage and faith to trust the prophets words that God's power was far greater than man's armies. The scripture says,
"Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign;
"Behold the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." Isaiah 7:14
The name Immanuel means "God is with us" and indicates that God''s love, power, knowledge, grace and presence are with the righteous. The name also indicates that God himself came down from heaven and took upon himself mortality.
Ahaz rejected Isaiah's spiritual counsel and won the support from the king of Assyria. Because Ahaz rejected Isaiah's plan (God's plan), the armies of Syria and Israel invaded Judah slaying thousands of warriors and carried away two hundred thousand woman and children. Judah was slaughtered, in part because of the great sins of her king and her people.
This prophecy has direction application for us. Assyria is a type and symbol of the warring nations that exist in the latter days shortly before the second coming. If we accept the Lord's sign of Immanuel, if we accept Jesus Christ and his atonement we will be protected during the wars in the last days. The central message for us is to trust the Lord's words that comes through his prophets, rather than rely on the arm of the flesh.
Indeed we have every reason to trust in our Lord, in Isaiah 9:6 we read
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder and his name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace."
Which of us could be without a Wonderful Counsellor, an advisor or mediator and advocate with the Father?
Which of us could be without a Mighty God, a Jehovah that overcomes the nations and all forms of oppression?
Which of us could be without an Everlasting Father, the father of our eternal life?
Which of us could be without the Prince of Peace, a God of love and peace who eliminates war and contention and reigns over a peaceful kingdom?
The scripture goes onto say....
"Of the increase of his government and peace there is no end."
From the first presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles declaration, entitled "The Living Christ" we read
"As we commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ two millennia ago, we offer our testimony of the reality of His matchless life and the infinite virtue of His great atoning sacrifice. None other has had so profound an influence upon all who have lived and will yet live upon the earth."
I testify to you Jesus Christ was the Great Jehovah of the Old Testament. He was the babe born to a virgin, a pure and chosen vessel. He was the child born unto us...He was the Son given unto us. . . and of his peace there is no end.
Notes: Understanding Isaiah by Donald W. Parry, Jay A Parry & Tina M Peterson was my source of study and where I found many understandable concepts and phrase.. They really put this in everyday language.