In today's lesson, God continues to decree doom against Israel at the hand of Assyria; He also pleads for His people to trust in Him.
Isaiah Chapter 8
Lessons from the text
Where's the Prophecy?
This chapter opens with Isaiah commanded to prophesy about Mahershalalhashbaz. What is the prophecy? I don't know.
No where are we told what Isaiah wrote about Mahershalalhasbaz. We are given a prophecy against Samaria and Judah for their sins, but not about the person. God just dangled a carrot of "by the way, this important thing happened over here, but I'm not going to tell you about it." Why would He do that?
Paul said that when he had his near-death (or perhaps death and healing)*, he heard things in heaven which were not lawful for a man to utter (2 Cor 12:4). John, when Jesus called him to heaven heard the proclamation of the seven thunders which he was not allowed to repeat to us (Rev 10:4).
For whatever reason, God withholds certain things from us. Of course, His ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:9), but I feel like there is more to it than that. God isn't just higher and therefore withholds information too lofty for us to comprehend; He is this mystery of awe and beauty.
I think God delights in being a mystery. Think about it. Do you want to be friends with the most frank, to-the-point, straightforward person? No! We like intrigue. We like the unknown. I think the mysterious nature of God draws us to Him in curiosity.
God has given us the privilege to unwrap His mysteries.
As King Soloman said, "It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter." (Prov 25:2)
Continue reading for in-depth commentary or comment
below to let us know what you got out of today's Scripture.
3 After his wife conceived Isaiah is told that his son is the same person he just wrote about.
4 Mahershalalhashbaz means "quickly to the plunder," and the explanation for the name follows; Samaria will be destroyed in his lifetime.
5-8 God does not pour out judgment without a cause. In this case, He explains the judgment by saying that Israel has rejected the waters of Shiloah. Instead of receiving life water from the Lord, they have turned away from Judah and have delighted in the ways of Pekah King of Israel (Remaliah's son) and Rezin King of Assyria.
God's response is to pour out Assyria's army on Israel like a might flood of water. These water will almost drown Israel, but God's mercy will stop it at the neck.
9-10 In sarcasm, God tells the people to make alliances and take counsel. To gird yourself is to prepare. To speak the word is to give a command. No matter how we may think we are in control of a situation, God is the one in control. Anything we do, any plans we make that are not made in counsel with God will not stand.
It is futile to live without Him, for even the air we breath is a gift from Him.
11-12 In contrast to the Assyrians and idolatrous Israelites, God is with Isaiah. He has instructed and spoken to him, warning him not to join everyone, especially when they tell Isaiah to be united to them. This is similar to how Jesus tells us that His believers are not of this world (Jn 15:19). We are called to be a separate and peculiar people, belonging solely to God (Det 14:2).
12b-14 Isaiah has no reason to fear other people. Even if everyone is saying, "Join me! Join me!", Isaiah does not have to feel obligated to join them. If Isaiah is threatened, then God will be his sanctuary. The fear of God should override any fear of man.
15 Failing to fear God, many people will stumble, fall, and be broken by God's will. In the end, they will fall into their own snares and be taken into eternal damnation.
16 Isaiah is given the new command to bind up and seal the testimony of God with His believers. The children of God are His. They perform great things in the world, the grace and Spirit of God made manifested in the world through them. Even though God may turn on Israel, Isaiah is willing to wait for God to return. He knows that in the end God will be his sanctuary.
19 When God removes His spirit from Israel, when judgments begin to come, then the people will start seeking answers. But instead of turning to God, they will seek psychics and those who practice witchcraft. God responds by asking, Why are you looking for an answer by conjuring the dead when the Living God is right here?
20 God says that the reason the people will seek for answers in the wrong places is because they are in darkness.
21 The people will pass through the Law hungry, unsatisfied, because they lack understanding. They are in darkness and therefore are unable to understand the light of the Scriptures. Instead of asking God for help, they will curse their earthly and heavenly king.
22 Unable to find answers from any supernatural source, they will look for answers in the world only to find trouble and anguish. Therefore, they will fall deeper into darkness.
Please comment below to tell us what you learned from today's lesson.