“For this thing the Lord himself shall give a sign to you. Lo! a virgin shall conceive, and shall bear a son; and his name shall be called Immanuel. [Lo! a maid(en) shall conceive, and bare a son; and thou shalt call his name Immanuel.]”
What is ‘this thing’ Isaiah mentions? ‘This thing’ is whatever wearies, not only men, but God.
“And Isaiah said, And so, hear ye, the house of David; is it not enough for you to make men weary? must ye also make my God weary as well?” (Isaiah 7: 13)
What wearies man and God? Evil. And apparently the evil existing within His chosen people – no, not the nation of Israel alone, but any one person whom He selects as His own.
Isaiah says that the child called “God With Us” will “eat butter and honey, that He know how to reprove evil, and choose good.” (Isaiah 7: 15)
Choosing good is what we can’t seem to get right. For this thing, God comes into the world as an infant, to take up our burdens and walk as we walk, to die in our stead so we might live.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve got some issues with believing a dream! I view my dreams with great suspicion, always considering them as NOT prophetic.
In Joseph’s case, his betrothed is visited by Gabriel, whose words to her confirm Joseph’s dream. (Luke 1: 26 – 33)
Where two are gathered in [His] Name, there He is also. (Matthew 18: 20)
Gabriel, who is the angel of the Lord, refers to the prophet Isaiah, who writes: “Behold, the virgin will conceive and bear a son, and they shall call His Name Immanuel.” (Matthew 1: 23)
Gabriel tells Joseph to name his son Jesus, “for He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1: 21)
Like Mary before him, Joseph believes. I do think he confirms this dream with Mary, speaking with her later, hearing her report of Gabriel’s visit and the angel’s words to her. Gabriel’s visit to Mary comes before she “is found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 1: 18) Gabriel tells her beforehand not to be afraid, that the Holy Spirit will come upon her, overshadow her and give her the baby who is Jesus. She keeps this to herself, sharing it later with Elizabeth. I see her not sharing it with Joseph, perhaps out of fear. After all, she knows she may be stoned to death, outside the city gate. But when Joseph finds Mary pregnant, he is just and decides “to divorce her quietly.” (Matthew 1: 19) He is kind and does not want Mary to die. Perhaps he also does not want her unborn child to die.
When Gabriel tells Joseph to take Mary to be his wife, Joseph confirms the dream with Mary. All that Mary has stored in her heart now comes out. I imagine her relief and her thrill to find that Joseph is also a faithful servant of God; that he also is willing to obey.
God tells Ahaz to ask for a sign. But Ahaz responds, “I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test.”
So, Isaiah tells Ahaz and us that God will give a sign. “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. He shall eat curds and honey when He knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good.” (Isaiah 7: 14 – 15)
The Son of God comes as “a great light.” (Isaiah 9: 2) He comes as “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9: 6)
When Mary and Joseph present their son as holy to the Lord on the eighth day of his life — offering a pair of turtledoves — Simeon, a “righteous and devout” man who is “waiting for the consolation of Israel,” sees Jesus. When Simeon sees the Christ child, he takes Him in his arms, saying: “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your Word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation that You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation for the Gentiles, and for glory to Your people Israel.” (Luke 2: 25, 29 – 32)
Simeon lays eyes on the sign which God promises to Ahaz, and which Ahaz does not request.
Simeon tells Mary, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed, so that the thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.” (Luke 2: 34, 35)
Jesus is a sign that is opposed.
Jesus Himself warns, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.” (Matthew 16: 4)
The two signs God gives us are the virgin birth of Jesus and the resurrection of Christ.