And it came to pass in the days of Ahaz the son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, king of Judah, that Rezin, king of Syria, and Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, went up toward Jerusalem to war against it, but could not prevail against it.
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.
Then said the Lord unto Isaiah: Go forth now to meet Ahaz, thou and Shearjashub thy son, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool in the highway of the fuller’s field;
And say unto him: Take heed, and be quiet; fear not, neither be faint-hearted for the two tails of these smoking firebrands, for the fierce anger of Rezin with Syria, and of the son of Remaliah.
Because Syria, Ephraim, and the son of Remaliah, have taken evil counsel against thee, saying:
Let us go up against Judah and vex it, and let us make a breach therein for us, and set a king in the midst of it, yea, the son of Tabeal.
Thus saith the Lord God: It shall not stand, neither shall it come to pass.
(2 Nephi 17:1-7//Isaiah 7:1-7)
Personally I find it really easy to worry about future events. Not the big events funnily enough: I’m not unduly worried about future cataclysms, war or the collapse of western civilisation despite the fact that I think all of that will happen. I guess that feels like it’s all in God’s hands, and indeed even a vindication of his teachings and promises.
But the little, personal, stuff I find really easy to worry about. I guess I have less of a conviction of any of that fitting into some grand divine plan, or worry I may forfeit blessings through imperfection. And many of these are areas in which I know I don’t do well, and where my imagination can conjure up outcomes and scenarios I find very concerning, even though they haven’t happened and may never happen.
So I guess I find a bit of reassurance in this passage: there was actually a genuine threat here (Judah was comparatively weaker than the Northern Kingdom, let alone it being allied to Aram-Damascus as well). Yet despite the dangers that posed, the fears were ultimately unnecessary because God was in control of events. It is God who is the ultimate antidote to such fears of the future.
2 Nephi 18
Associate yourselves, O ye people, and ye shall be broken in pieces; and give ear all ye of far countries; gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces; gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces.
Take counsel together, and it shall come to naught; speak the word, and it shall not stand; for God is with us.
For the Lord spake thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this people, saying:
Say ye not, A confederacy, to all to whom this people shall say, A confederacy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid.
Sanctify the Lord of Hosts himself, and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.
(2 Nephi 18:9-13//Isaiah 8:13)
Unfortunately the people of Judah were prone to react to future fears the way we do: to seek for security elsewhere. They sought it in alliances (hence the warning not to “associate yourselves” and “a confederacy”). For us, I guess we can end up looking for that security in wealth, power, status or even our relationships. But like the ancient Judahites, any real, eternal, security, can really only come as we draw closer to God.