Isaiah 7:9b - "If you are not firm in faith, you will not be firm at all" (ESV).
Have you ever watched a great sporting event, where the game had been a close contest the whole way? One team would score then the other team would score. One would have an incredible moment of defense then the other would respond in kind. These are the games I like to watch! Sure, the occasional blowout is fun, but true competition is exciting to see. In these types of games as each team makes its final play the announcer will typically remind the spectators, "It all comes down to this!" By that he means that the game will be won or lost based on the final basket, the last block, a momentary burst of speed...and then it's all over. As a Divine announcer in the game of life, Isaiah made such a statement to Ahaz, the king of Judah in a moment of crisis. And what did it all come down to? Faith.
Early in his reign, Ahaz was confronted by two kingdoms that had decided to attack him. Probably most upsetting to Ahaz was that his northern familial neighbor, Israel, was one of the kingdoms! When he heard word of their plans he and the people of Judah "shook as the trees of the forest shake before the wind" (Is. 7:2). They were terrified! There are moments in our lives where betrayal and overwhelming odds appear capable of destroying us. Like Ahaz, in these moments we need to be reminded that a life of faith is what it all comes down to. Like Ahaz, we need to be reminded that faith is not automatic but a choice on our part to remember the kind of God we serve.
Based on what God has revealed about Himself in the past, we need to choose to believe in Him today. We need to choose to believe that things such a earthly odds and having the "upper hand" mean nothing to Him. We need to choose faith. The flip side is that if we reject faith in God and His promises, we don't stand a chance. Without faith in God, we have nothing. Faith in God is what it all comes down to. When the final buzzer has sounded and God has been declared the winner, whose team will you be on?
(Originally posted 8/24/09)