When Ahaz son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, was king of Judah, King Rezin of Aram and Pekah son of Remaliah king of Israel marched up to fight against Jerusalem, but they could not overpower it.
Now the house of David was told, “Aram has allied itself with Ephraim”; so the hearts of Ahaz and his people were shaken, as the trees of the forest are shaken by the wind.
Then the Lord said to Isaiah, “Go out, you and your son Shear-Jashub, to meet Ahaz at the end of the aqueduct of the Upper Pool, on the road to the Launderer’s Field. Say to him, ‘Be careful, keep calm and don’t be afraid. Do not lose heart because of these two smoldering stubs of firewood—because of the fierce anger of Rezin and Aram and of the son of Remaliah. Aram, Ephraim and Remaliah’s son have plotted your ruin, saying, “Let us invade Judah; let us tear it apart and divide it among ourselves, and make the son of Tabeel king over it.” Yet this is what the Sovereign Lord says:
“‘It will not take place,
it will not happen,
for the head of Aram is Damascus,
and the head of Damascus is only Rezin.
Within sixty-five years
Ephraim will be too shattered to be a people.
The head of Ephraim is Samaria,
and the head of Samaria is only Remaliah’s son.
If you do not stand firm in your faith,
you will not stand at all.’”
Psalm 48: 1-7
Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised
in the city of our God.
His holy mountain, beautiful in elevation,
is the joy of all the earth,
Mount Zion, in the far north,
the city of the great King.
Within its citadels God
has shown himself a sure defense.
Then the kings assembled,
they came on together.
As soon as they saw it, they were astounded;
they were in panic, they took to flight;
trembling took hold of them there,
pains as of a woman in labor,
as when an east wind shatters
the ships of Tarshish.
Then he began to reproach the cities in which most of his deeds of power had been done, because they did not repent. “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the deeds of power done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, on the day of judgment it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? No, you will be brought down to Hades.
For if the deeds of power done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I tell you that on the day of judgment it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom than for you.”
“If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.” The Lord assures Ahaz in the first reading that He knows the outcome of the battle he is facing, yet He desires that Ahaz have faith all along. If we continue reading this chapter of Isaiah, the Lord follows up His statement by telling Ahaz to ask Him for a sign and then promises to send the Messiah into the world (Is 7:10-14). While Ahaz was trembling in fear of the upcoming battle, God wanted him to know that not only was the battle in His hands, but that He had an even greater plan in mind for the restoration of Israel and all of mankind. But in the moment, Ahaz needed to keep his eyes on the Lord and not give into the fear that was besieging him.
As Christians, we know that faith can be a challenge sometimes. Jesus has come, died, risen, and promises to come again – the battle for our salvation has been won – and yet, this life can throw many trials our way which can threaten to shake our faith and tempt us to reject this gift. It is important in these moments to keep choosing to acknowledge the Lord’s presence in our lives, to thank Him for all the graces He has provided up to this point, and to entrust our futures to Him, knowing that His perfect will is to fulfill all of our needs in Him, and that His eternal plan for us is so much greater than anything we could imagine or hope for.
If you are facing a situation that is causing you fear or is challenging your faith, bring it to Jesus today. Ask for the grace to not grow complacent like the people He spoke to in the Gospel today, and if you have been taking God for granted or denying His work in your life, take the Gospel as a call to repent of those attitudes and renew your faith in Him. Trust that the Lord loves you, that He holds your life in His hands, and that His perfect will is for you to be at peace in Him.