Jealousies and Conspiracies
This took place during the reign of Ahaz, son of Jotham, son of Uzziah king of Judah: Rezin king of Aram, along with Pekah, son of Remaliah, king of Israel, waged war against Jerusalem, but he could not succeed. When it became known to the house of David that Aram had occupied Ephraim, the heart of Ahaz and the hearts of his people trembled like trees of a forest shaking in a wind. Then the Lord said to Isaiah, “Go out with your son Shear-jashub to meet Ahaz at the end of the conduit of the upper pool, by the road to the Fuller’s Field. Say to him: Calm down and be quiet. Don’t be afraid or fainthearted because of these two smoldering stubs of firebrands, Rezin of Aram, and the son of Remaliah. For Aram, along with Ephraim and the son of Remaliah, has plotted harm against you. They say: Let us go up against Judah, terrorize it, and conquer it for ourselves. Then we can install Tabeel’s son as king in it.” This is what the Lord God says: It will not happen; it will not occur. The head of Aram is Damascus, the head of Damascus is Rezin (within 65 years Ephraim will be shattered to be a people), the head of Ephraim is Samaria, and the head of Samaria is the son of Remaliah. If you do not stand firm in your faith, then you will not stand at all. Isaiah 7:1-9 (HCSB)
Even the Lord’s House breeds dissension and controversy, and conflict and division are sure to follow. Rival groups can rise up to challenge the legitimate authority of the church. Competition within the church never nurtures pleasing results. However, history reveals that the Lord’s will, ways and wisdom always prevail in the end.
In the historical setting of this passage in Isaiah, the northern tribes of Israel, known here as Ephraim or simply Israel, and the Syrian tribes or Aram (Syria, the country in the news today) made an alliance pact between them. It was common for kings of the various city-states at that time to form an allegiance for protective purposes. In this particular setting, the Assyrians were a real threat. Israel envied Judah and the glory of the temple found in Jerusalem. Aram and Israel decided to bring their armies together for selfish reasons against Judah.
The Lord sent Isaiah as His messenger to warn Israel of their folly if they continued to pursue their evil plot against Judah. “Remain steadfast in your faith that the Lord is your God and be content in your own land or you will face My wrath and no longer be My people under My protection, and you will suffer.” History revealed both Aram and Israel ignored the warning and suffered devastating defeat at the hands of the Assyrians. Their lands and citizens became slaves and were exiled into oblivion.
For us, the relevance is this: jealousy has no place in God’s Kingdom. The Lord promised His protection to preserve His faithful people. When we choose to wander from that covenant promise because of our growing jealousies, the Lord will intervene to protect and preserve His faithful people. Our conspiracies will fall back onto ourselves.
Daily, churches suffer from within by their own selfish conspiracies and struggles for power and control. Church people cause far more harmful dissension and division than external threats. However, the Lord never abandons his people and he intervenes to preserve and protect the faithful remnant from the schemes of selfish people.
Sometimes the faithful are sent into exile and the church building and land falls into the control of the wrong people, but the land nor the building on it is God’s church. His faithful people comprise His Church. In God’s timing the faithful remnant will be restored to continue God’s Kingdom work, while those sitting in the pews and gloating over the buildings discover no peace and face even greater threats. No matter who paid for the most money or invested the most time and talents in the construction of the church buildings, if it is to be the Lord’s House, all ownership claims must be surrendered to the Lord.
Therefore, think twice before taking sides in a conflict in God’s House. God always prevails and a faithful remnant will be preserved long after the dust clears from the devastation that jealousies and conspiracies conspire to inflict for their selfish purposes.