By Pastor Ted R. House
The Christmas season is supposed to be a time of great joy and peace. The angel told the shepherds: "...I bring you good tidings of great joy...and on earth peace, good will toward men", but for many, it is a time of struggle, heartache, and tears. Some people, for one reason or another have no good will toward anyone, they are full of bitterness and resentment. The truth of the matter is that Christmas can be a tough time for some people. The fact is, if we are not careful, our joy, peace, and goodwill toward men can be robbed from us by things that we have no control over. If you know someone that is struggling, have compassion for them. If you are the one that is struggling, I hope that this message will help.
As believers in Christ, we are supposed to be people of faith. Our experience as believers started with faith. The Bible says in Ephesians 2:8-9: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." We are to live and walk by faith, but sometimes it is easier said than done. Isaiah chapter 7 tells us the Old Testament account of Ahaz the king of Judah. Two other kings were getting ready to attack Jerusalem. Isaiah 7:2 tells us: "And it was told the house of David, saying, Syria is confederate with Ephraim. And his heart was moved, and the heart of his people, as the trees of the wood are moved with the wind." There were many troubled hearts in Jerusalem that day. It gives us a very descriptive word picture describing their fearful hearts. Their hearts were moved as trees blown about in the wind. Sadly, many people have trembling hearts this Christmas season. Most of us know what it feels like to have a fearful heart, but at this time of year, it seems to be magnified.
Read what the Lord had to say to this king in this very troubling time: "...Take heed, and be quiet; fear not, neither be fainthearted...". Troubled hearts are fainthearted hearts. It is hard to stand against anything when we are fainthearted, and it is hard to be calm when things are not going well. We do not want to be quiet; we get all stirred up, we get ourselves in a tizzy. But God says that when trouble comes, we need to be quiet, and fearless, not fainthearted. It is the exact opposite of what we tend to do. It takes faith in the midst of the storm to have peace. God says: “be still and know that I am God”. In Isaiah 7:7 God told King Ahaz: "...It shall not stand, neither shall it come to pass." God was not going to let the other two kings take over Jerusalem. In Isaiah 7:9 God told him: "...If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established." God said: you need to believe what I am telling you. You need to be calm, you need to believe that I will take care of you. But if you will not believe you will not be established.
In Isaiah 7:8 God told the king: "For the head of Syria is Damascus, and the head of Damascus is Rezin; and within threescore and five years shall Ephraim be broken, that it be not a people." If the king would not believe what God told him, he would be fearful and troubled for years to come, but if he would believe he would have peace and he would be established. It is faith that establishes us. It is faith that gives us peace. Our heart will not be blown about by the winds of trouble and turmoil, heartache and pain now and for the years to come if we will exercise our faith and trust in God.