One day, the prophet Isaiah took his son to meet the king, but it wasn’t a social call. Isaiah took his son on a serious mission, in dangerous times.
His son’s name, “Shear Yashub – A remnant will return”, was a living letter to continuously remind everyone who spoke it that no matter how evil and faithless Israel would become, nothing would ever make God abandon a people who had already abandoned him. Every time Isaiah spoke his son’s name, it reaffirmed that no matter what, a remnant would return. Nothing and no one on earth could alter that. And yet there was still something that hung in the balance: A king and a kingdom
Ahaz was a king in the lineage of David, just as Isaiah and his son, Shear Yashub, were. But while Ahaz and Isaiah shared in the same bloodline of David, only one had imitated his faith.
So Isaiah took his son on a mission of mercy to coax the cowardly king to finally act like the son of David that he was. Of course, Isaiah knew Ahaz quite well, and could have spoken to him quietly in the palace, comfortable among all the trappings of the court and its pomp. But for this messge, it needed to be public, and so Isaiah found the king at a public place where the water flowed down from an aqueduct into a pool below. This was a communal gathering place, where washing and other daily chores happened.
National leaders rarely address each other at a mundane places like a grocery store or a Laundromats, but Isaiah wanted this king to remember that he was a man just like any other who had to drink and wash just as we all do. He also wanted all the people to hear Ahaz’s warning.
Two major world powers were poised to wipe the kingdom of Judah off the map, but God swore that these two powers would utterly fail. That was already decided.
What wasn’t yet decided was whether Ahaz would believe what God had said like his ancestor David. His choice at this pool would either establish his reign or shatter it forever. God told the faithless king: “Unless your faith is firm, I cannot make you stand firm.”
Ahaz heard the words, and everyone saw that he had been warned. Ahaz heard the words, but he didn’t believe them. Instead, he believed that his kingship was inches from extinction and so he must make alliances with a much darker, more twisted world power, Assyria. Ahaz fully believed that their fearsome armies would create a diversion and save his kingship. Furthermore, in a bizarre twist of irrationality, Ahaz killed his own son in a dark pagan ritual designed to ensure his own legacy.
And so two sons of David, Isaiah and Ahaz, both involved their sons in their faith.