Sermon #24 Series: Isaiah
Title: Butter and Honey
Text: Isaiah 7:14-15
Subject: Immanuel’s Birth, Nature, and Name
Date: Sunday Evening - September 24, 1989
The “scholars” tell me that Isaiah 7:14 is one of the most difficult texts in all the Word of God to interpret. I would never have imagined that it would be hard to interpret if I had not read what the “scholars” have to say about it. I admit that the other twenty-four verses of this chapter may be difficult to understand. But verse 14 is not. The first time I read this text some twenty-three years ago, I said, “This is a prophecy about Christ my Savior.” Then I looked at the cross reference in the margin of my Bible and found Matthew 1:23. In that place the Holy Spirit tells us plainly that Isaiah 7:14 is a prophecy of Christ’s coming in the world. (Read Matt. 1:18-23).
You will forgive me if I ignore the “scholars” and just preach the message of this text according to the interpretation given by the Spirit of God. “Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?”
Ahaz would not believe God. Therefore he would not obey the voice of God’s prophet. Isaiah said, “Ask thee a sign of the Lord,” a sign of God’s promise to preserve and deliver his covenant people. But Ahaz, the godless wretch, said, with an air of self-righteous indignation, “I will not ask, neither will I tempt the Lord.” To that Isaiah replied, “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign: Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good.”
Proposition: This is a prophecy of the incarnation and virgin birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Divisions: Our text describes three things about our Savior:
1. His Virgin Birth.
2. His Holy Humanity.
3. His Glorious Name.
I. First, our text is a prophecy of THE VIRGIN BIRTH OF CHRIST.
None of us knows the date of our Savior’s birth. God has wisely hidden it from men. The one day of the year that it could not have been is December 25. Christmas day has nothing to do with the birth of Christ. But our text does describe a glorious birthday. It is true, Mary’s child was born in a manger, in humility and poverty. But no other man had a birthday such as his.
· His birthday was anticipated by saints and prophets for four thousand years.
· All the Old Testament pointed to Immanuel’s advent.
· God hung a fresh lamp in the sky to announce his birth.
· The angelic hosts came down to sing at his birth.
· Shepherds and wise men came to bring presents to the Prince of the kings of the earth when he was born.
Our text announces a glorious birthday. It announces the birth of a man who is the eternal Son of God, the Savior of the world (Isa. 9:6-7).
A. The prophet’s language speaks of a miraculous conception - “Behold, a virgin shall conceive.”
Our Savior is born, the seed of the woman, conceived in the womb of the virgin Mary by the miraculous intervention of God the Holy Spirit (Gal. 4:4-6).
1. His holy body was prepared in the womb of the virgin for the work he had come to do (Heb. 10:4-5).
2. Had he been born of the flesh, the Lord Jesus could have done nothing to save us.
B. Our text also speaks of a humble parentage.
Virginity was Mary’s highest honor. It is true, she was of the royal seed of David’s house. But that was no great honor in her day. It gave her no special privilege, power, or position.
1. Our Savior was born in poverty and lived in poverty all the days of his life, by his own choice.
2. He taught us, by constant example, to despise the froth of worldly treasure and position - Will we ever learn to follow his example and live by faith in God?
3. There is much encouragement here…
· He who was born in poverty, will visit the poor in spirit.
· He who was laid in a rock manger, will visit our hard,
· He who humbled himself, will be the friend of humbled
C. Our text also implies something of God’s sovereign election - “A virgin shall conceive.”
There were, no doubt, many virgins in the world in those days, but God chose one, only one to be the agent through whom he would bring his Son into the world (Luke 1:26-33).
1. Mary was freely chosen of God - So are we.
2. Mary was highly favored by God - So are we - “Accepted in the Beloved.”
3. Mary was visited by God - So are we.
4. Mary had Christ formed in her - So do we.
5. Mary was blessed of God for Christ’s sake - So are we.
6. Mary rejoiced in God her Savior - So do we - (Mk. 1:46-50).
II. Secondly, our text speaks of Our Savior’s Holy Humanity - (15).
The word “that” in verse 15 should be translated “when,” or “but,” or “and,” anything by “that.” If you could figure out how eating butter and honey will cause a man to know to refuse the evil and choose the good, you can soon make yourself very rich.
The text should read, “Butter and honey shall he eat; and he shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good.”
A. Our Lord’s eating butter and honey suggests that He would be born during a time of peace in Israel.
Butter and honey are things people rarely take time to make and gather when war ravages the land.
B. Eating butter and honey is a declaration of our Savior’s real humanity.
We rejoice in his deity. But we equally rejoice and give thanks to God for the humanity of our Savior - There was nothing unusual and distinctive about the Lord Jesus but his sinlessness. Our Savior, our God, is a man like us! (Heb. 2)
C. Spiritually, the butter and honey may refer to the grace that is poured into His lips for His people (Ps. 45:2).
· Interceding Grace.
· Saving Grace.
· Preserving Grace.
· Cleansing Grace.
D. The next sentence describes the perfect holiness of our Savior.
“Butter and honey shall he eat.” That tells us of Christ’s humanity. “And he shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good.” That is his holiness.
Throughout the days of his life, our Lord Jesus refused the evil and chose the good.
· In the wilderness.
· In the garden.
III. Thirdly, our text gives us THE GLORIOUS NAME OF OUR SAVIOR - “Thou shalt call his name, Immanuel.”
You know what that means - “God with us.” Spirit of God, teach us the meaning of this glorious name given to our Savior. His name is “God with us.” Christ is God with us!
A. By incarnation to redeem us.
B. By His Spirit to protect, guide, and comfort us.
C. In our assemblies to bless us.
D. God with us is hell’s terror.
E. God with us is his servant’s strength.
F. God with us is the sufferer’s consolation.
G. God with us is the dying believer’s hope.
H. God with us is the song and joy of heaven.