“Ask for a sing from the Lord, your God; let it be deep as the netherworld, or high as the sky! But Ahaz answered, “I will not ask! I will not tempt the Lord!” (Is.7:10-11)
“Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home…. When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home.” (Mt. 1:18)
The scripture readings this weekend put a stark contrast before us. Ahaz, the King of Israel, is told by God to ask for a sign. “Just ask,” God says, “and I will answer.” But Ahaz, due to false humility, refuses to answer. Ahaz has the choice of relying on the Assyrians or on God. Ahaz has more trust in the Assyrian armies than in the God who promises a sign. He refuses to even ask God for help because he has his own plans already. Trusting God is not a part of those plans.
In spite of this, God promises the sign of the Messiah who shall be called “Emmanuel.”
Joseph responds very differently. Joseph is given a remarkable dream that informs him that the child in Mary’s womb has been conceived “through the Holy Spirit.” Like Ahaz, Joseph is choos to trust in God or in his own plan “to divorce her quietly.” However, Joseph chooses to rely on the incredible message of the dream. Because of Joseph’s faith, he comes to know Jesus. He allows the child who is God to be born into his family, despite his plans and that makes all the difference in his life.
We face the same choice that Ahaz and Joseph faced. Will we trust in God or in our own plans?