Read Isaiah 8
Isaiah and His Children as Signs
8 The Lord said to me, “Take a large scroll and write on it with an ordinary pen: Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz.” 2 So I called in Uriah the priest and Zechariah son of Jeberekiah as reliable witnesses for me. 3 Then I made love to the prophetess, and she conceived and gave birth to a son. And the Lord said to me, “Name him Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz. 4 For before the boy knows how to say ‘My father’ or ‘My mother,’ the wealth of Damascus and the plunder of Samaria will be carried off by the king of Assyria.”
5 The Lord spoke to me again:
6 “Because this people has rejected
the gently flowing waters of Shiloah
and rejoices over Rezin
and the son of Remaliah,
7 therefore the Lord is about to bring against them
the mighty floodwaters of the Euphrates—
the king of Assyria with all his pomp.
It will overflow all its channels,
run over all its banks
8 and sweep on into Judah, swirling over it,
passing through it and reaching up to the neck.
Its outspread wings will cover the breadth of your land,
9 Raise the war cry, you nations, and be shattered!
Listen, all you distant lands.
Prepare for battle, and be shattered!
Prepare for battle, and be shattered!
10 Devise your strategy, but it will be thwarted;
propose your plan, but it will not stand,
for God is with us.
11 This is what the Lord says to me with his strong hand upon me, warning me not to follow the way of this people:
12 “Do not call conspiracy
everything this people calls a conspiracy;
do not fear what they fear,
and do not dread it.
13 The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy,
he is the one you are to fear,
he is the one you are to dread.
14 He will be a holy place;
for both Israel and Judah he will be
a stone that causes people to stumble
and a rock that makes them fall.
And for the people of Jerusalem he will be
a trap and a snare.
15 Many of them will stumble;
they will fall and be broken,
they will be snared and captured.”
16 Bind up this testimony of warning
and seal up God’s instruction among my disciples.
17 I will wait for the Lord,
who is hiding his face from the descendants of Jacob.
I will put my trust in him.
18 Here am I, and the children the Lord has given me. We are signs and symbols in Israel from the Lord Almighty, who dwells on Mount Zion.
The Darkness Turns to Light
19 When someone tells you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living? 20 Consult God’s instruction and the testimony of warning. If anyone does not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn. 21 Distressed and hungry, they will roam through the land; when they are famished, they will become enraged and, looking upward, will curse their king and their God. 22 Then they will look toward the earth and see only distress and darkness and fearful gloom, and they will be thrust into utter darkness.
In the Old Testament, we often see God use the enemies of Israel to punish and chasten His chosen ones. As people, the idea of subjecting the person or people you love to the grief, heartache, and even physical pain of a sworn enemy is inconceivable and incalculable. And yet, God demonstrates that His love for us is infinitely more powerful than anything we can understand. Deuteronomy 5:9-10 casts a picture this Old Testament pursuit of His people: “You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.”
In Isaiah 8, we revisit the promise that God made in the previous chapter that Judah would not be overtaken by the Aram-Ephraim alliance. The unspoken (but equally important) part of the promise is that God never said that He would spare Judah of suffering. He uses Isaiah to reinforce the harsh but reconciliatory message through the birth of his son, Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz (which means “speed to the spoil, hurry to the plunder”) which symbolized the rapid timeframe of the invasion of Assyria to punish Syria and Israel. Isaiah outlines the timeline and details of the attack and it is clear that Judah will grieve considerably: “Therefore the Lord is about to bring against them the mighty floodwaters of the Euphrates…[it will] sweep on into Judah, swirling over it, passing through it and reaching up to the neck. Its outspread wings will cover the breadth of your land, Immanuel!” (v. 7-8)
The chapter ends with a call to God’s people to relinquish the reliance on man-made “mediums and wizards” (v. 19) and to live a radically different life, following God through His commands. It is a similar calling we find in Romans 8, when Paul reminds us that “if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit…you will live” (v. 13). Paul goes on to echo Isaiah in the meaning of suffering also, which gives us hope in grieving: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose” (v. 28).
- What ways in your life has God used harsh circumstances to bring about repentance and ultimately reconciliation with Him?
- In what areas of your life can you sense that God is jealous for your heart?
- In society, what do you consider to be our present day “mediums and wizards”?
Leave a Comment Below
Join the Team
Interested in writing for the Bible Reading Plan? Email email@example.com.