Isaiah 7 featured in the Morning prayer readings today and it caught my eye in a way Morning Prayer readings only occasionally do (eyes normally being closed at that time of day).
Isaiah 7:14 is the verse quoted by Matthew to show that the process of a child being born of a virgin/young maiden (however you will view the translation) will be a sign of salvation. However in Isaiah the context shows that before the child is able to eat curds and honey (which from my parenting classes would be after about 1 year), the child will know the difference between right and wrong, but before then, the threat to King Ahaz would have gone. The inference was that the threat posed to King Ahaz was not going to last and he shouldn't worry about it.
Now I've read a bit of stuff today about how Hebrew tenses are unreliable/difficult to interpret, and I'm not enough of a scholar to take that further. And loads of stuff about maidens and virgins and whether Mary was one, and I reckon that is really not so important. (http://www.messiahtruth.com/is714a.html
was very helpful although I found their tone was somewhat aggressive)
So what do I conclude, only that you can't really use Isaiah 7:14 to say Isaiah was talking about Jesus, even though Matthew did.
I realise that will mess up a certain number of evangelical proofs but we all need to know our Bible better and not rely on all those things which we have always repeated without checking them out once again. Having said that, it doesn't shake my faith that God once used a child being born of a Virgin as a sign to Ahaz, and then later to us all. I believe in the Jesus who speaks to me every morning even though my eyes are closed, not one who can be proved from the words in any book.