“And it was told the house of David, saying, Syria is confederate with Ephraim. And his heart was moved, and the heart of his people, as the trees of the wood are moved with the wind.”
The “house of David” is a reference to the royal family, or the leaders of Judah. Specifically, at this time, it would include king Ahaz, a successor of David. News came to Ahaz that “Syria is confederate with Ephraim.” Ephraim was one of the tribes of the northern kingdom, Israel, and the kingdom of Israel was sometimes called “Ephraim.” Syria was a powerful nation to the north of Israel. In order for Syria to attack Judah, they would have to go through or go around Israel. The report that came to Ahaz was most troubling. The king of Judah learned that “Syria is confederate with Ephraim.” Syria had entered into an alliance with Israel, the northern neighbors of Judah.
The news was devastating. Our text says of king Ahaz, “his heart was moved, and the heart of his people, as the trees of the wood are moved with the wind.” They were shaken by this revelation, and their hearts trembled as trees moved by the wind. The metaphor illustrates the effect this disconcerting information had on Judah, but it also describes the way negative news can be overwhelming to us. We too can be shaken by evil reports. We can overreact and allow fear to grip our hearts. Although the negative news may indeed be accurate, often that is not the case. How many times have we been saddened or worried about something we have been told or something we have imagined, only to find out later that the news was either untrue or at least greatly exaggerated?
Another factor to consider is the way our fears may affect others. The Scripture says that “his heart was moved, and the heart of his people.” It was first the king whose heart was fearful, and then the hearts of his people. When we overreact to bad news and allow ourselves to be overcome with terror, that fear can become contagious.
Before we allow this trembling to take control of our hearts, we ought to look to God for wisdom. The story of Ahaz and Syria took a decided turn after they became afraid. The Lord sent Isaiah to tell Ahaz, “fear not, neither be fainthearted”(7:4). Before we jump to conclusions and assume the worst, it would be wise for us to consult with God and allow Him to direct our hearts.