We move on today to Isaiah Chapter 8 verses 1 to 10 as the story continues and the prophecies begin to come to pass.
Firstly the Lord tells Isaiah to write down a strange name, ‘Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz’ which means ‘quick to the plunder, swift to the spoil’ (see NIV footnote) or perhaps a more tabloid-style translation, ‘Quick pickings – Easy prey’! (vs.1-2).
And then Isaiah’s wife gives birth to a son, and he is to be given this name, (I pity his teacher having to fit his name next to his school peg in the classroom!). But we presume this son is also the sign ‘Immanuel’, that God is with them.
And so the prophecy of Ch.7 v.16 is repeated in Ch.8 v.4 that before the boy grows up at all, the wealth of Damascus and Samaria (or the peoples of Syria and Israel) will be carried off by Assyria.
However, the Lord speaks again that because the king and people of Judah ‘rejected the gently flowing waters of Shiloah’, a place near Jerusalem, and a picture if you like of God’s quiet help; and decided instead to call in Assyria’s help to destroy their neighbours, their own future was now in doubt, because Assyria would continue to flow down to Judah (vs.6-8), the land of Immanuel, that name again (v.8).They would be in great danger, but only up to their neck, not completely destroyed, because the Lord remembers His covenant and His promises.As I said yesterday, ‘Even in the darkest hour and the most horrendous of judgements, there is always hope with the Lord; He remembers His promises and His people.’
And then Isaiah speaks back to the nations (vs.9-10), that although God is using them for His judgement, they too will be destroyed, their strategies and plans are nothing compared to the Lord’s, and God’s people will be saved. Why? Because God is with us – Immanuel!
And the outworking of these events, far away in place and time, are meant to give us encouragement today, because their Immanuel is our Immanuel too.
From our extended church address list, please remember in your prayers today,- Andrew- George and Pat