Jersey's success as an international
finance centre rests on a small number of key issues. Confidentiality is one. Much of what will
be discussed and told in interview and board rooms this week will be
confidential - available to very few people, perhaps only those in the room.
The same applies with equal force to advice
to Ministers this week. The cry for "freedom of information" is often
on the lips of those not at the meeting. But, if everybody
hears the advice, all sorts of eruptions can - and will - arise.
After the meeting - sometimes straight away
(especially in government?) - the advice comes out. That's what happened in 732
BC with regard to the Isaiah's statement to 20-year-old King Ahaz that a virgin
would become pregnant with a son whose name would be Immanuel - "God with
This confidential advice was given in a
very fraught situation.. Young King Ahaz, King of Judah, and his people were
shaking "like the trees in the wind......” because war had been
declared on him by two neighbouring kings.
So Isaiah, God's messenger of truth,
arranges a confidential meeting with him.
Ahaz is encouraged to ask Almighty God, the
God of his people, for a sign that will give him confidence, even certainty,
that the LORD will move heaven and earth to aid his ancient house of David that
was now in Ahaz's hands.
Ahaz says: NO
WAY. "I will not ask and I will not even try
to engage the help of the LORD." Instead, Ahaz would ask the help of the
king of Assyria - the world power that was huge at that time - and nearby.
Advisors in meetings like that
(especially in government) draw deep breaths and attempt to point out the
consequences of decisions.
As did Isaiah. The consequences included three
LORD will demonstrate to all that he is Almighty: The virgin will be with child
and will give birth to a son and his name will be Immanuel - God with us. (The
Hebrew word for virgin is unequivocally that.)
lands of the two kings whom Ahaz dreaded would soon be deserted.
LORD would bring total disaster on the Ahaz’s dynasty - the house of David. And
the LORD would do that through Assyria. Ahaz, by seeking Assyria's assistance,
had taken the tiger by the tail.
On 2, the lands were very soon devastated
- by Assyrian troops. On 3, the tribute Ahaz paid to Assyria year-on-year
brought the house of David to penury – and to more than a century of vassalage.
Worse, in 701 BC, that house of David was virtually wiped out for non-payment
of tribute. Then trampled on by the Babylonians, Persia, Greece and Rome.
King Ahaz's decision was like many of
ours - it took account of the facts of the ‘real world’. But it was the point
of no return for the dynasty he represented. He had abandoned trust in the
Almighty; the Almighty abandoned him.
On 1, nothing was left of Ahaz's dynasty
when Jesus Christ was born (under Roman rule) in Bethlehem of Judea in AD 0 to
a virgin whose name was Mary. But Isaiah's sign from the Almighty was recalled
from their history books. Along with 2 and 3, that sign confirmed to many men
and women of Judah in AD 33 and beyond that Almighty God had not forgotten His
promise that a virgin would be with child: Immanuel; God with us;
God for us and not against us.
Will we in Jersey this Christmas also see
this sign? Or, like Ahaz, shall we continue to say NO WAY and, instead, take by
the tail the most ‘powerful’ tiger we can find to help us ......... ?