Iraq and Iran attacked the northern part of Israel, trying to conquer it. Israel fought back, after making an alliance with a part of Syria. To strengthen their forces they also asked Judah to fight with them. Who? Judah was a small part of the original nation of Israel, the only part left after the north seceded in a civil war. They even lost the name, Israel, to the north. Anyhow, when they won’t join the fight, they get attacked by their former brothers.
Sound like the future? Nope, it was the past – roughly 2750 years ago. The more things change…
Anyhow, the King of Judah decides to join forces with Iraq (then called Assyria) to protect himself from Israel and Syria (then called Aram). He calls for his Secretary of What God Says to Do (wouldn’t it be great if we still had one of those?), a guy named Isaiah, who tells him, “God says don’t do it; He will keep you safe.” The armies are marching, and the King is getting nervous. And skeptical.
So Isaiah says, “God offers to prove it to you; ask Him for a sign – anything!” The King thinks this has gotten weird; he is wasting time. He’s got to strike a deal with Assyria before its too late. So he says, “Thanks anyway…”
So, the Secretary of What God Says to Do says,
“...If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.’ ”” (Isaiah 7:9b)
And then this:
“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14)
The king did not “stand firm in his faith” and missed the sign. Eventually both parts of Israel were wiped off the face of the map. For a time.
But you don’t need to miss it. You don’t need to know all the history, Just the name of the child. You just need to know Who He was. “Immanuel” means, God has come to live with us.