Isaiah 8:1-10

There is a natural flowing on from chapter 7 in the Lord’s instructions to Isaiah (1, 2). They relate to the impending Assyrian attacks on both Israel and Judah. God told Isaiah to prepare a legal document and write on it the name of his next son to be born:       ”Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz”. It means ”quick to the plunder, swift to the spoil.” Like the name of Isaiah’s first son (7:3), it is symbolic. It refers to the destruction that was about to be unleashed by the invading Assyrians. (Just an additional thought: God still uses ”ordinary” pens to write His story. He delights to use ordinary things; ordinary people so that He gets all the glory).

In (3, 4) he describes his marriage to a ”prophetess”. Afterward, she gave birth to his second son. It is assumed that his first wife died. The Lord told Isaiah that before the boy had learned to talk, the Assyrians would capture both Damascus (the capital of Syria) and Samaria (the capital of the northern kingdom, Israel). In considering this remember the words in 7:4-9.

In (5-8) the prophet, as he so often does, switches from matter of fact prose to beautiful poetic language. The                           ”waters of Shiloah” (6a) were Jerusalem’s water supply. Here they symbolise the Lord’s preserving, sustaining power, which Ahaz and his people rejected in favour of looking to the king of Assyria for help. (See 7:2 and what comes after. They were faced with a clear choice between panic and peace.) The people of Judah were rejoicing over the downfall of the kings of Syria and Israel respectively (6b), but soon they would find themselves steamrollered by Assyria. The victory over these two gave Assyria a clear path to Israel. Indeed, the ”floodwaters” (7) would reach up to Judah’s ”neck” (8). That is, all of Judah except Jerusalem would be captured (see 2 Kings 18:13). All would seem lost, except for one thing; God would still be with a faithful remnant of His people:        ”O Immanuel” (8b).

The thought of ”Immanuel” leads Isaiah to look beyond the gloomy immediate future to a triumphant distant future, when all Judah’s enemies will be defeated; not only Israel and Syria close by, but also ”distant lands” such as Assyria and Babylon (9). These enemies will not be able to conquer God’s faithful remnant for, says Isaiah, ”God is with us” (10). This eventually happened. One by one Judah’s enemies fell and the exiled remnant returned to rebuild in the land. But this deliverance was but a foreshadowing of a far greater deliverance yet to come: the deliverance of God’s people from sin, Satan and death, through the real ”Immanuel”, the Lord Jesus Christ.                                                                                                                                                                                     Today we face the same choice as the people in Isaiah’s day. We can choose fear, or we can choose God’s ”gently flowing” peaceful provision. May He help us this day to choose wisely.

Prayer: Help me Lord to not live another day in panic, anxiety and stress when my ‘inheritance’ is Jesus’ own peace.