Isaiah Chapter Eight

Stand on the Promise

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In our study of Isaiah chapter eight, we look at the consequences of not trusting in the promises of God.

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Isaiah 8:1 & 2

ADONAI said to me, "Take a large tablet, and write on it in easily readable letters; 'Maher shalal, hash baz [the spoil hurries, the prey speeds along].'" I had it witnessed for me by reliable witnesses - Uriyah the cohen and Z'kharyahu the son of Y'verekhyahu.

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.

Isaiah 8:3

Then I had sexual relations with my wife; she became pregnant and gave birth to a son; and ADONAI 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.

Isaiah 8:4

because before the child knows how to cry, 'Abba!' and 'Eema!', the riches of Dammesek and the spoil of Shomron will be carried off and given to the king of Ashur."

Before Isaiah's son was weaned, the nations that were coming against Judah would be defeated by the Assyrians.

Isaiah 8:5 & 6

ADONAI went on speaking and said more to me: "Since this people has rejected the gently flowing waters from Shilo'ach and takes joy in Retzin and the son of Remalyah;

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 Avraham 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 Yeshua is going to come back. Between grace and sacrifice flowed this gentle stream which is a symbol of the very blood of Yeshua Messiah which was the instrument of God's grace. God tells Isaiah in this passage that the people of Israel have turned their back on his word and even embraced Rezin (the king of Syria) as Pekah (the son of Remaliah who was the king of the northern kingdom of Israel) made an alliance with them. They did not want to worship God in the manner that was prescribed by God and in the place prescribed by God and this is idolatry.

Isaiah 8:7a

now Adonai will bring upon them the mighty floodwaters of the [Euphrates] River - that is, the king of Ashur and his power.

God's people have put their hope in the alliance with Syria but 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.

Isaiah 8:7b & 8

It will rise above all its channels and overflow all its banks. It will sweep through Y'hudah, flooding everything and passing on. It will reach even up to the neck, and its outspread wings will fill the whole expanse of the land." God is with us!

God uses the picture of a mighty river during a massive flood to tell of the coming disaster on the land of Israel. 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. This passage speaks of the fact that Assyria would sweep through the land and even lay siege to Jerusalem but God was still with Judah and Assyria would not be successful against Jerusalem.

Isaiah 8:9 & 10

You may make an uproar, peoples; but you will be shattered. Listen, all of you from distant lands: arm yourselves, but you will be shattered; yes, arm yourselves, but you will be shattered; devise a plan, but it will come to nothing; say anything you like, but it won't happen; because God is with us.

This passage speaks of the fact that they were prepared for battle but God wanted them to stand in faith just as it had happened when God delivered His people from the Egyptians at the Red Sea (see Exodus 14). 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. He goes on to say that they can come up with their defense plans but their plans will crumble and come to nothing as it will only be the fact that God is with them that will bring the victory.

Isaiah 8:11 & 12

For this is what ADONAI said to me, speaking with a strong hand, warning me not to live the way this people does: "Don't regard as alliance what this people calls alliance, and don't fear what they fear or be awestruck by 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 in faith.

Isaiah 8:13

but ADONAI-Tzva'ot - consecrate him! Let him be the object of your fear and awe!

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.

Isaiah 8:14

He is there to be a sanctuary. But for both the houses of Isra'el he will be a stone to stumble over, a rock obstructing their way; a trap and a snare for the inhabitants of Yerushalayim.

This passage speaks of the fact that both Judah and Israel had a choice to make which was to accept the word of God and, if they did, God would bring their salvation but, if they did not, they would both be cast into exile. This was also true in the time of Yeshua on the earth as He 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.

Isaiah 8:15

Many of them will stumble and fall, be broken and trapped and captured.

Many of the people of Judah did not stand in faith against the Assyrians but there was a remnant and, because of that remnant, Jerusalem did not fall to the Assyrians. This is a reminder that 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 Yeshua Messiah.

Isaiah 8:16

Wrap up this document, and confine its teaching to those I have instructed."

This prophecy was a promise to the people of God and Isaiah is told to hold onto that promise.

Isaiah 8:17

I will wait for ADONAI, who is hiding his face from the house of Ya'akov; yes, I will look for him.

Even though things seemed bad for the people of Judah, Isaiah said that he would cling to the promises that god had made to His people.

Isaiah 8:18

Meanwhile, I and the children whom ADONAI has given me will become for Isra'el signs and wonders from ADONAI-Tzva'ot living on Mount Tziyon.

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. Once again, we see the name Mount Tziyon used to describe Jerusalem and we are reminded that this speaks of the redeemed Jerusalem and the last days.

Isaiah 8:19 & 20

So when they tell you to consult those squeaking, squawking mediums and fortune-tellers; "Shouldn't a people seek their God? Must the living ask the dead for teaching and instruction?" For they will indeed give you this unenlightened suggestion.

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. 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.

Isaiah 8:21 & 22

Distressed and hungry they will pass through the land; and because of their hunger they will grow angry and curse by their king and by their God. But whether they look up or at the earth, they will see only trouble and darkness, anguished gloom and pervasive darkness.

This passage speaks of the exile that Judah would face but it also speaks of the consequences for all men of not believing the promises of 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. 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.

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