In the days of Ahaz the son of Jotham, son of Uzziah, king of Judah, Rezin the king of Syria and Pekah the son of Remaliah the king of Israel came up to Jerusalem to wage war against it, but could not yet mount an attack against it. When the house of David was told, “Syria is in league with Ephraim,” the heart of Ahaz and the heart of his people shook as the trees of the forest shake before the wind.
And the Lord said to Isaiah, “Go out to meet Ahaz, you and Shear-jashub your son, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool on the highway to the Washer’s Field. And say to him, ‘Be careful, be quiet, do not fear, and do not let your heart be faint because of these two smoldering stumps of firebrands, at the fierce anger of Rezin and Syria and the son of Remaliah. Because Syria, with Ephraim and the son of Remaliah, has devised evil against you, saying, “Let us go up against Judah and terrify it, and let us conquer it for ourselves, and set up the son of Tabeel as king in the midst of it,” thus says the Lord God:
“‘It shall not stand,
and it shall not come to pass.
For the head of Syria is Damascus,
and the head of Damascus is Rezin.
And within sixty-five years
Ephraim will be shattered from being a people.
And the head of Ephraim is Samaria,
and the head of Samaria is the son of Remaliah.
If you are not firm in faith,
you will not be firm at all.’” Isaiah 7:1-9 ESV
[Jesus said:] “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” Matthew 7:24-27 ESV
Many years ago, a beautiful suspension bridge was built across a channel of water called “the narrows” into the city of Tacoma in Washington State. This bridge was called the Narrows Bridge. Almost right away the bridge swayed and rocked in the strong winds that whipped across the narrows, and it also bounced and rolled. People that drove across this bridge sometimes saw the headlights of the of the car ahead of them disappear as the bridge rolled in the wind. There had been a mistake in the design of the bridge, and it wasn’t able to stand against the wind, even though engineers tried to reinforce the bridge so that it wouldn’t bounce so much. On November 7th, 1940, strong winds hit the bridge sideways. After some time the bridge began to twist and then to rip. A good part of the span collapsed and fell into the water. The design had been bad, and it couldn’t be easily fixed to make the bridge sturdy and safe.
The southern kingdom of Judah was afraid of a terrible disaster hitting them. The northern kingdom of Israel had made an alliance with Syria to come against Judah and Jerusalem, and Judah’s King Ahaz and his people were terribly afraid. God sent the prophet Isaiah to Ahaz to comfort him and tell him that this alliance wouldn’t completely conquer him. He also said that within 65 years the kingdom of Israel would fall. Then Isaiah gave Ahaz a warning. He said that if wasn’t firm in his faith, he wouldn’t be firm at all. Ahaz was like the Narrows Bridge, shaking in the wind without having a strong faith in God. He wasn’t able to be strong and confident when trouble came because he didn’t trust that God would be with his people and care for them.
Jesus warns us that if we don’t build our lives and hopes on him and his word, we also will collapse in the storms of life. He used the picture of a house that collapses when a storm hits because it doesn’t have a firm foundation. But if we build our faith on Jesus and his word, we’ll be firm through all the troubles and storms of life. We can trust in Jesus’ love and care for us, because he showed us how strong his love is when we went to the cross and died for us. When Jesus died for us, he claimed us as his own people, and we can trust him to be with us and keep us close to him now and forever.
Dear Jesus, thank you for dying for us and making us your people. Help us to always trust you and to build our lives on your word. Amen.