But Ahaz said, “I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test.” (v. 12)
In the spring of 2009, I lost my job as a high school music teacher. My district was closing several schools, and I happened to be one of the newest people hired. I was “last in, first out.” My wife was pregnant with our second child, and we were pretty worried. I remember praying for a new job yet making sure to pray, “not my will but yours.” That sounds good, but I didn’t really mean it. It was my semi-pious attempt to pray correctly, as if my humble prayer would impress God enough so he’d respond in my favor. My calculated prayer was a bit like Ahaz’s response in this passage.
God told Ahaz to ask for a sign, but Ahaz refused, saying he didn’t want to test God. Ahaz’s shaky faith was showing through his insincere prayer. God was saying, “Go ahead, ask for something amazing, just see what I can do.” Ahaz was using a false piety to disobey God. While he was doing that, God promised the greatest sign of all—Immanuel, God with us!
Do we trust God enough to ask him to supply our needs without reservation, even when circumstances are against us? We have a God who says we can rely on him completely. After all, in Jesus Christ he’s already met our needs. How might you trust God more deeply and rely on him more completely today? —Andy Bast
As you pray, leave nothing back. Ask God to be present, to heal, and to make things right.