Previously, I read about Isaiah and his relationship with Ahaz in the context of II Kings and II Chronicles. This is why the chronological approach has been helpful to me. I wouldn't have remembered the exact context when reading these books separately. Next we see the early manifestation of Isaiah's prophesy.
The Lord directs Isaiah to write on a tablet in ordinary letters:
- "Swift is the booty; speedy is the prey" (Wiersbe translate this: "quick to plunder; swift to the spoil")
- which is "Maher-shalal-hash-baz"
- The MacArthur Commentary states that Isiah was to place this on a large scroll and post it in a public place so that the prophesy was known in advance. When it came to pass, the priest and leaders would acknowledge the Lord's sovereignty.
- This is the name of Isaiah's second son. (Talk about a public banner!)
- Within two years, Assyria was quick to plunder Samaria and Israel and both kings were dead- confirming God's judgement on them.
Isiah approached "the prophetess" and had a son. The Lord said by the time he could speak, Damascus (Aram) and Samaria (Israel) will be carried away.
However, the Lord offers Judah healing waters. He is not completely done with them.
Then the Lord offers Isaiah specific encouragement to stand against a political system that wants to marginalize him because he cries out to trust the Lord alone. (Something the Assyrian-friendly parties wouldn't want.)
In verse 18,
Behold, I and the children whom the Lord has given me are for signs and wonders in Israel form the Lord of hosts, who dwells on Mount Zion.Isaiah 8:18
We see that Isaiah's children fulfill his prophesies in the short term- sealing up the law, as mentioned in verse 17; with Jesus the Christ fulfilling them in the fullness of time. According to Wiersbe, Hebrews 2:13-14 confirms this.
When the people begin to suffer, they will curse their king and God and will look, first, to mediums and spiritists, and then to the world- finding distress and darkness for their efforts.
In our modern world, we still want to find our help apart from God. People seems to think the cost is lower and the results are faster. Tarot cards, energy work, mindless meditation, and many other mediums call on demons. To think there is no cost to be incurred is willfully naive and so very dangerous.
This chapter was steeped in symbolism and I sort of struggled to digest it; so I'll be curious what the various commentaries say.
Wiersbe Commentary, Be Comforted
Wiersbe states that God gives Isaiah three big contrasts to explain the Judah why they should trust the Lord and not Assyria.
The pro-Assyrian groups celebrated the quick victory of Assyria over Aram and Israel. the Lord tells them that they chose a flood over his steady waters of Shiloah. The trouble with rooting for the flood is...it could (and did) keep coming at you.
This is where the Lord encouraged Isaiah to stand with the Lord- even though it will mean he will be accused of treason.
Wiersbe framed this one as, the nation chose darkness; but that didn't make Isaiah's ministry a failure. When we are obedient to the Lord, we can wait with faith that He will fulfill His promises.
It reminds me of the adage, Mine is to be obedient; results are the domain of the Lord.
According the Blue Letter Bible chronological list, we'll pause in Isaiah and read the entire book of the minor prophet Amos before returning to Isaiah and II Kings.