Ahaz did not deny God’s existence — he rejected God’s mercy. “This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are
far from me” (Matthew 15:8) King Ahaz’s behavior is not unlike ours today. The circumstances might change, but the human condition remains the same. We are a people in crisis, and have always been since that fateful day in the garden. God asks one simple and yet enormous thing from us, and like Ahaz, we reject His love. ~ Maria Morera Johnson (Lesson Two Reflection)
When I’m reading the bible, especially old testament passages, I get so befuddled that by the time I finish a section I sit back and think, WHAT? What is happening, what did I just read? Thankfully I pulled out Bible Gateway (thanks again Allison for that tip) and I will be honest and tell y’all, I pulled up the International Children’s Bible for this Isaiah reading. And as I read it again, I was like wait my bible didn’t say that… well, yeah it did just maybe a little more adult-like 🙂 Then I read Maria’s incredibly insightful reflection and went back and read the passage again and it all came together for me. Maybe I’m confused and maybe I don’t get it because I’m Ahaz. I’m stubborn and while I believe in God, I keep him at arms length. For example I have long struggled with not feeling like I can call on God because my issues surely are not worthy of His time. He’s the big man. He’s got His hands full with so many others… I’m just gonna go handle X my way because it’s not big enough or important enough to trouble God with. I’ll save up my prayers for when something big happens. God is over there saying, I’m here, let me show you that I’m here. I love you, let me show you that I love you. Nikki please JUST TURN TO ME! And just like Ahaz, I’m missing out on the blessings God wants to share with me. Thank you Maria and thank you Ahaz for showing me what I need to stop doing!
Thank you, Nikki, for being the first to post your refection on this scripture!! You, actually, helped me tremendously. For some reason, while I have read the scripture several times ..consecutive days, I have been struggling to gain a full understanding. Maria’s reflection helped me very much to understand how Ahaz believed in God, however, refused and doubted His Mercy. I imagine this has happened to me on some level. The line in scripture that I, continually, go back to is when Isaiah says, “Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign. The young woman, pregnant and about to bear a son, shall name him Emmanuel.”
When I reflected on the scripture, again, today I felt that while the children of God were (are) at times far from Him throughout the ages, He always promises His Mercy and Love in Jesus through Mary.
YES! 🙂 God is still pouring out His mercy sending Jesus through Mary!
Ok, I’m still identifying with old Ahaz this evening. Tonight’s reflection reminded me of a story I heard in a Hallmark Christmas movie, the Shoe Addict’s Christmas. The lead character’s guardian angel is trying to enlighten her charge, so she tells her this story about a man trapped in the snow.
One Christmas Eve there was a great blizzard and a man got trapped in the rising snow and he prayed to Got to save him. Along came a sleigh driven by a jolly fellow who offered the man a ride to safety, but the man declined. He said that he had faith God would save him.
A little while later the driver of the sleigh came back and offered again but the man refused. The sleigh came back a third time. Now the man was trapped in the snow up to his chin, but still he refused insisting God would save him.
Sadly, the man died. Later when the man was welcomed into heaven by God, the man says to God, “God I had faith in you, why didn’t you save me?” God replied, “What are you talking about? I sent the sleigh three times!” The lesson being that the sleighs (road to salvation) was there, but the man was unwilling to climb aboard.
And as I think about Ahaz and the man refusing the sleighs I’m wondering how many times do I call myself having faith or praying for something but when God “sends a sleigh” I refuse to climb aboard because it’s not how I envisioned the response or it wasn’t part of MY plan? When do I set aside my pride, my plans, my vision and climb on board the sleigh that God is offering which will no doubt but full of blessing? I see how Ahaz missed out on the blessings, I do not want to be missing out like that!
For the record… I am LOVED that Hallmark Classic lol 😉 AND IF you can make analogies between Hallmark and the Scriptures, we are so destined to be really good friends!! <3 Loving your insights, thank you for sharing the process, of reading these daily and how the Lord is touching your heart.
I was beginning to feel like a broken record with these lectio’s because of my constant reflection on Ahaz. Today however, the weeds and the thorns spoke to me. How going your own way instead of turning to God just begs sin and pour decision making into your life (the weeds and thorns). It’s a twisty path which can invite fear, self-doubt, all sorts of negativity that the old sneaky serpent just loves to feed off of. As usual, it’s up to us. Good old Free Will!
However, God in his boundless brilliance, love and mercy knows that we need Him. So even though we may miss out on the blessings he has for us when we make these decisions to go our own way and deal with the weeds and thorns, He provided a way back. Thank you God, Mary and Jesus! and BAM, suddenly a song is playing through my head, and I reach for my phone to play it and it’s just the verses of Matthew 11:28-30 being sung a cappella. “Come unto me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon, and learn from me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
For anyone who wants a listen, you can google or youtube “Take 6 Come Unto Me”. I hope you find it as uplifting as I do! 🙂
Thank you so much for sharing your reflections, Nikki; they have been very helpful to me. Except for verse 14, I was totally unfamiliar with this passage and found it to be very confusing. (thanks, also, for the info on the International Children’s Bible; it was helpful)
Yesterday morning, I read the daily reflection from Called By Name (October3) and came across these words…”sometimes my feelings of unworthiness makes me reluctant to approach God; sometimes my needs seem too small compared to the needs of the world.” I was suddenly reminded of the first verses of our scripture this week, Isaiah 10 & 11… We have been told by Jesus to ask and it will be given to you; here we are hearing the Lord tell Ahaz that he can ask for anything — but, Ahaz does not ask. How often have I not asked because I felt unworthy? because I thought my request was too trivial…too small and insignificant compared to those of others?
Not only does Ahaz not ask for a sign, he actually refuses the Lord’s request… Have I been guilty of refusing God’s help? rejecting his gifts of grace/mercy/forgiveness? Why would I not want to receive all that God wants for me? Too often, I want to do things my way and not His way — I recognize that I need to grow in faith and in trust of God and all He intends for me.
By reading and re-reading these verses, and then reflecting on them, it is helping me to understand my relationship with God better. I don’t have all the answers — more questions for Him than answers — but, I feel I am on the right road, at least.
Isn’t it amazing how other things we take in, like reading the Called by Name devotional, bring us back to our scripture study? I love it! Thank you for sharing! Ahaz and I are right there with you in our past refusal of God’s help and gifts. I’m just so glad we have this forum to share and not feel alone in striving for our relationship with God. 🙂
I have been struggling tying Mary into this lesson, but I had a spiritual breakthrough this morning regarding Mary and I wanted to share it with you all:
I have been working on growing a relationship with The BVM(Blessed Virgin Mary), (technically since Lent of 2019). I didn’t yet have that deep ‘connection’; the kind of connection I can sometimes get with Jesus……you know the one…..where you just KNOW/FEEL His presence…the HS moves through you and you’re filled with God-bumps (goosebumps)
I’ll spare you ALL the details, but my morning routine was thrown a bit off schedule today. It was a vacation day for me. I had a sleep in late & then I was blessed enough to start my day with live Mass, knowing it was a vacation day and I could get to praying the Rosary whenever. When I got home I thought to myself that I would pray the rosary while I cleaned up the beautiful, busy mess around my prayer chair.
I popped on my YouTube, guided rosary and thought ‘geez, I can at least sit in quiet peace through the beginning prayers. During these beginning prayers, I felt like I needed to stay seated in that prayer chair….what I wouldn’t give to spend 15 short minutes with my own (deceased) mother! (!!!) – I can certainly spend 15 minutes with The BVM.
And BOOM! There was the connection I had longed for. Suddenly, She was there, in my heart, as a Mother, with my own mother in the background. By the end of the Rosary (The Joyful Mysteries! ), I was crying, and I just knew that I was being comforted, and my tears were being collected. The Holy Spirit had given me a Mother’s love…BOTH of my mothers! It was amazing. ✝️
That is beautiful! Thank you for sharing and I am so happy that the Lord gave you that connection to Our Mother. I have a similar story with my mother who has been gone for far too long and my daughter who is very much like her grandmother. I often sit an pray with them all for my daughter who has struggled and moved very far away from her faith. Mary reminds me over and over that She and God love her and me more than I could ever imagine and through His Grace it will all be okay. The power of motherhood is amazing and Mary’s divine motherhood brings us salvation not just at the end of our earthly lives but everyday She and our Lord save us from heartache, from sin, from worry, from comparison if only we go to them. <3
Wow Jill… just WOW!!! That connection is so hard to grasp, and what a gift to be shown how to in such a powerful and beautiful way
Jill what a beautiful and amazing experience! Thank you for sharing that! After hearing a speaker at the Called by Name conference back in July who spoke about how she strived to have a closer relationship with Mary, I too have been trying to reach out to The Blessed Mother. I started with the magnificat and now the rosary. I’m not yet there, but hearing how others have encountered Mary gives me hope that my day is coming. 🙂
I’m not sure why it’s taken me 5 days of reading these verses to get to this point, but I’m finally here… God’s doing it again. He is taking sin and brokenness and bringing about redemption through Mary. Just like in the Genesis readings! Ahaz is in the lineage of David (which y’all may have already known, but I had to do a little reading and googling on this dude to figure this out). Ahaz makes all kinds of terrible choices and turns away from God not just this time, but over and over. And just like Adam and Eve, he has to deal with the consequences of his actions. But also just like Adam and Eve, God still loves him and shares with Ahaz, that Jesus (redemption) is coming and he will be born through Mary.
Therefore, God will still restore our relationship with Him through Ahaz even without his participation. How much better would our lives be if we worked WITH God? If we followed His plan and His will? If we just had the faith that Ahaz flat out refused? God is gonna bring the good and make miracles despite my sin or lack of faith, but how much more awesome would it be to be a part of the glory rather than trudge through the crookedness and discomfort of my own will/plan?
Mother Mary please hold my hand and help guide me along God’s path. Thank you for your example of your YES and please help me to follow it bringing me back to the path when I try to stray.
After reading Isaiah 7:10 to 25 and trying to understand it , I decided to do something else. Everyday I read the Word Among Us , the Mass readings for that day and the meditation, so that is what I decided to do. When I read the meditation, I became exited because I had a feeling that it was connected somehow to the King Ahaz reading but I didn’t know how. I had to read it several times to be able to find the connection. King Ahaz story starts at the beginning before Jerusalem was destroyed, and the people became exiles in Babylon. King Ahaz was going through a “spiritual crisis of faith’ at the time and God sent Isaiah to ask Ahaz to ask for a sign from God instead of trying to solve his problem by himself by making an alliance with a neighbor. Isaiah is trying to reassure Ahaz that God will give him a sign of love and protection, and he and his people will be spared if he puts his trust in God. Ahaz gets angry and refuses thinking he can take care of the problem himself instead of bothering God with it. What ensues is war and exile.
Then we hear the other side when we read Baruch 1 :15-22. Baruch wrote a letter while he was exiled in Babylon, to the remnant of the Israelites still living in Jerusalem, and asks for prayers for the exiles and to use funds he had collected to get what they needed to make sacrifices to God in their name. The meditation states that this is also a public acknowledgement of guilt and a plea of mercy. You can sense the pain and regret they feel for their disobedience and rebellion, and also sadness for the destruction of Jerusalem and their beloved temple. The meditation states that it is difficult to wake us up to our sin or to any situation in which we have been too ready to disregard God’s voice, but it is part of human nature to be stubborn and go our own way, to rationalize our sin, to ignore it. What God wants is for us to become aware of our sins, to repent, and receive his mercy. No one likes to confront their sins, but with it can come restoration and renewal. God brought the exiles home, but we can go to confession often and go home right away.
Yes, Confession!!! Such a true Gift. I love how you connected that here!
This morning I was contemplating the Mass reading about Jonah and how he got angry with God. Jonah wanted his way, not God’s way. I don’t get angry with God but I certainly ignore His will and favor my own will. As this thought crossed my mind, I looked out the window and saw a shower of leaves fall from the trees, then it stopped. It was almost as if God was saying, “Yes, you do ignore me.” To take the leaf analogy further, I thought of how the leaves have to die in order to fall off the tree. The leaves dying actually helps the tree to live. The tree needs the leaves to die. I need to die to my will. Then I thought of Ahaz. He too, needed to die to his will, die to his way of doing things.
Oh Lisa! That is so deep! What a wonderful way it all came into perspective! Thank you for sharing this with us!
Beautiful Lisa. Thank you
Lisa, thank you for your fabulous question last night. I often think, if I’m thinking it so are many others!! Love this reflection here too.
Thank you for the encouragement.