In our study of Isaiah chapter eight, we look at God's promise of grace through Jesus Christ. We will see how that grace became a stumbling block for those that wanted to work for their salvation.
The Lord said to me, 'Take a large scroll and write on it with an ordinary pen: Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz. And I will call in Uriah the priest and Zechariah son of Jeberekiah as reliable witnesses for me.'
The Lord told Isaiah to write Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz on a scroll so that everyone could see and understand (that is what is meant by "with an ordinary pen"). This simply means "hasten booty, speed prey" and God was telling the people that what He had said, in chapter 7, was going to happen quickly. He also told him that He was going to call in two witnesses as all legal matters required two witnesses. Uriah which means "Jehovah is my light" and Zechariah "Jehovah remembers" the son of Jeberekiah "Jehovah will bless" and we see that, in these names, God is promising to remember and bless His people even as they will be defeated by the Assyrians.
Then I went to the prophetess, and she conceived and gave birth to a son. And the Lord said to me, 'Name him Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz.'
Then Isaiah and his wife had a baby son. God had him name the boy the same thing that he had written on the scroll. This is the second time that this would be before the people as every time they heard the name they would be reminded of God's word.
'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.'
Before Isaiah's son was weaned, the nations that were coming against Judah would be defeated by the Assyrians.
The Lord spoke to me again: 'Because this people has rejected the gently flowing waters of Shiloah and rejoices over Rezin and the son of Remaliah,'
The "waters of Shiloah" were a gentle stream that flowed between Mt. Zion and Mt. Moriah and "Shiloah" means sent. This tells the story of grace as Mt. Moriah was the place of sacrifice where Abraham went to offer his son and also the place where Solomon's temple was built. Mount Zion is the mountain of grace as we are told, in Revelation 14, that is where Jesus is going to come back. Between grace and sacrifice flowed this gentle stream which is a symbol of the very blood of Jesus Christ which was the instrument of God's grace. God tells Isaiah in this passage that the people of Judah have turned their back on His grace and even embraced Rezin (the king of Syria) and Pekah (the son of Remaliah who was the king of the northern kingdom of Israel).
therefore the Lord is about to bring against them the mighty floodwaters of the River - the king of Assyria with all his pomp.
God's people have put their hope in the mercy of the nations that were about to attack instead of in Him. Now, God tells them that he is sending the Assyrians to tear down that false hope and bring them to repentance. The River that is mentioned is the Euphrates River which runs through the modern nation of Iraq.
It will overflow all its channels, run over all its banks and sweep into Judah, swirling over it, passing through it and reaching up to the neck. Its outspread wings will cover the breadth of your land, O Immanuel!
God uses the picture of a mighty river during a massive flood to tell of the coming disaster on the land of Judah. We see that the water reaches the neck but does not cover the head and therefore a person would not drown if they were standing up. Even though it is coming and will cover the land, we see that God is with them (that is what Immanuel means) and will preserve His people. That same promise is for us today as, no matter what is happening, God will preserve His people until His purpose is complete.
Raise the war cry, you nations, and be shattered! Listen, all you distant lands. Prepare for battle, and be shattered! Devise your strategy, but it will be thwarted; propose your plan, but it will not stand, for God is with us.
God is in control and He takes care of His own. It has been that way from the time that God called Israel out of Egypt and it will be that way forever. We can see how God is going to do this in the future in Revelation 19.
The Lord spoke to me with his strong hand upon me, warning me not to follow the way of this people. He said: 'Do not call conspiracy everything that these people call conspiracy, do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it.'
God called Isaiah to stand apart from those that were not standing firm in their faith. There were those, among the people of Judah, that were afraid of the nations that were coming against Jerusalem. Many even joined with them in hopes of receiving mercy and favor with the invaders. God told Isaiah not to be like that but instead to stand firm.
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,
God reminded Isaiah that the only thing that he should fear is God Himself. We, as Christians, do not fear anything in this world because we know and trust that God is in control. The "fear" mentioned here is not being scared of something but it is a respect (reverence) for God and His name.
and he will be a sanctuary; but for both houses of Israel he will be a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall. And for the people of Jerusalem he will be a trap and a snare.
Jesus (Lord Almighty) caused the Jews to stumble because of the struggle between grace and works. The Jews (God's chosen people) wanted to please God by following His commands but they could not accept the fact that they could not fulfill the requirements on their own. He was a trap to them in that you cannot embrace grace and works for salvation as they are opposites of each other. You can learn more about this in 1 Peter 2:4-8 and Ephesians 2:8-10.
Many of them will stumble; they will fall and be broken, they will be snared and captured.
Those that try to get to heaven by their own works instead of grace will fall and be trapped in a religious system. This system cannot bring peace and confidence as you can never know whether you have done enough works. Many Jews and Muslims are trapped in such a condition today and don't know the peace that comes through Jesus Christ.
Bind up the testimony and seal up the law among my disciples.
The law does not have the power to save and our testimony is about the grace of God not our ability to do anything on our own.
I will wait for the Lord, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob. I will put my trust in him.
God's people waited hundreds of years for the coming of the Messiah. Many times it seemed like God had left them alone to fend for themselves but He was always looking out for His children.
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.
Isaiah lets us see why he had given his sons the names that he had which were not your ordinary names. He understood that they were from God and had a special purpose and part of that purpose required very unordinary names. God has a special purpose for all of His children and we just have to listen and follow as Isaiah did even if it is strange.
When men tell 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?
This verse seems to be very timely for the days that we live in where people will turn to everything but God for answers. It seems like everywhere you look there is some kind of psychic or medium nonsense. When we see these things, we should take to heart these questions that Isaiah asks here.
To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn.
Isaiah is reminding us here that everything must line up with God's word which is truth. If the words don't line up with scripture, then they have no light and in fact are of darkness. We have to be very careful as today many will take a verse or two of scripture and twist it around to fit what they want to say. If we study God's word and listen to the leading of the Spirit we will not be deceived by this twisting of the Word.
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.
Those that seek answers from the world will end up without peace as the world cannot bring peace to the soul of a man. They will also be hungry as they forget the great provider who is God. Ultimately, they will curse God and blame Him for their situation even as He waits for them to turn to Him.
Then they will look toward the earth and see only distress and darkness and fearful gloom, and they will be thrust into utter darkness.
Those that seek worldly answers will, in the end, find that the world has no answers. Because they have turned their back on God, they will be judged and spend eternity without God. Hell is a place without light (because God is light) and the darkness will be total. They didn't want anything to do with God and so they will get what they wish but find it was not what they thought.