God cares enough about his people to send a prophet to them even when they are involved in idolatry and any sin. God loves hypocrites, but he does not like hypocrisy and exposes it. Ahaz was a leader who was in trouble and who was leading bady, not godly.
In spite of Ahaz's shortcomings, God sent Isaiah to give him a word that challenged Ahaz to express his faith in God. God gave Ahaz a detailed prophetic word, to encourage him in a time of trouble, through Isaiah. The end of the word said that Ahaz must have faith. Then, to encourage and empower Ahaz's faith in the word, God says, through Isaiah to ask for a sign, big or small: "make it as deep as the grave or as high as the heaven", said the Lord directly to him through Isaiah.
Ahaz's response to a direct invitation, some people might call it a command because it was so authoritative and clear, was, "no thanks, that wouldn't be right", in today's English.
Imagine a person or a leader, even yourself; in crisis. You are rattled, you are afraid, and your mind is racing. In your crisis, gripped by fear, you make plans to save yourself and the people you lead, but what if these are ungodly plans? You might be planning on lying, cheating, or aligning with people that are openly enemies of God.
In the midst of the crisis and these ungodly plans, God's prophet comes to you. God does not use the prophet to expose your sin, your idolatry, or your evil alliances. Instead God, gives you prophetic intelligence about the plans of your enemies and God's plan to help you. That's all very encouraging. But then there is a direct word to you: You must believe this, if you want to make it personally. Then you are told to ask for a sign.
When Ahaz says, "no thanks", he reveals himself as not being a follower of God, not being God's partner, not being submitted to God, and not a believer. He is a "pseudo-believer", a believer "in name only". Believers believe and Ahaz is not believing. Followers follow and Ahaz is not following. Children of God listen to and obey God. Ahaz does not obey. Ahaz does not have a relationship with the real, living God.
A person can act religious & pious, but be in contempt of God. Walking with and under God is manifested in trust, obedience, and faith. God tested Ahaz through a gracious offer of doing a sign, any sign, for him; to bolster his faith and the faith of the people who looked to him for leadership, in a time of crisis.
If Ahaz had said yes, it does not mean that everything would have suddenly been ok with Ahaz's life. It could have led him to repentance. He would still need to repent and get right with God. But he chose not to go that way.
Receiving a prophecy does not mean you are in a good place in your walk with God. It means God is gracious and merciful.
Prophetic ministry to a sinful idolatrous person who is religious and pious on the outside, does not have to only be a rebuke and a revealing of the person's sins. God may call that person back to the path, that will lead to repentance, through grace.
Or do you have contempt for the riches of God’s generosity, tolerance, and patience? Don’t you realize that God’s kindness is supposed to lead you to change your heart and life? -Romans 2:4We may have witnessed or heard about a person who we believe to a pretending believer, unbelieving believer, backsliden person, or flat-out heretic who teaches false doctrine get a big prophetic word. We might say, "not fair", or "false prophet", or just shake our heads as we judge the misguided prophetic person and judge the recipient as unworthy of a prophetic word.
If, "while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us", why would God not give a prophecy to a "sinner"? Prophetic words are not earned, nor is getting one a sign of holiness. The gift says something about the giver, not the recipient.
God is not fooled by the sinner's sin, even if they are a professing Christian. God sends prophetic ministry to the sinning believer and the professing believer who really is a sinner. There are people today that are in the church, but not in Christ. They may be like Ahaz and involved in gross idolatry and disobedience, while feigning religiosity. Or, they might just be lukewarm.
Look! I’m standing at the door and knocking. If any hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to be with them, and will have dinner with them, and they will have dinner with me. -Revelation 3:20Jesus was calling Ahaz through his prophet and Jesus is knocking on the door today of his church. The book of Revelation is a prophetic letter containing prophetic words for 7 specific churches, one of which was the church of Laodicea. God uses the picture of Jesus outside his own church, asking for entry to show us how it can be when he is graciously speaking a word to his people who are off the path. Jesus' knocking on the door is the prophetic word to the people he is speaking to.
Today, similarly to the day of Ahaz, God is sending prophets, and giving prophetic words through prophets, New Testament prophets; to errant Christians to invite them to the way in Christ that they are not on. Those that receive, respond to, and obey are those who have dinner with Jesus, and get their lives on track. Those that don't answer the door will just continue off track, going down the wrong path, and be Christians "in name only" and have no relationship with God.