Rev. John Lukomski, retired pastor in Northfield, Minnesota, joins host Rev. AJ Espinosa to study Isaiah 8.
Isaiah’s own son will be a ticking countdown to the Assyrian invasion. In chapter 8, God names him Maher-shalal-hash-baz, an ominous yet hopeful name pointing to how Jerusalem will just barely survive Sennacherib’s attack. Like Immanuel, the name is one of both law and gospel, condemnation and salvation.
The difference is one of perspective. Without the light of God’s Word, we look up to heaven in anger and we look out on the earth in despair. God remains hidden. But with the light of God’s testimony and teaching, shapes emerge in the darkness. What was a stumbling block becomes our sanctuary through faith. If we embrace our fear of God, we paradoxically find peace. We are painfully confronted with our sin, but in Christ we are graciously called “Immanuel” along with Hezekiah, Judah, and all of His people.
Thy Strong Word is a daily in-depth study of the books of the Bible with host Rev. AJ Espinosa and guest pastors from across the country. Thy Strong Word is graciously underwritten by the Lutheran Heritage Foundation and produced by the LCMS Office of National Mission.
The Coming Assyrian Invasion
8 Then the Lord said to me, “Take a large tablet and write on it in common characters,[a] ‘Belonging to Maher-shalal-hash-baz.’[b] 2 And I will get reliable witnesses, Uriah the priest and Zechariah the son of Jeberechiah, to attest for me.”
3 And I went to the prophetess, and she conceived and bore a son. Then the Lord said to me, “Call his name Maher-shalal-hash-baz; 4 for before the boy knows how to cry ‘My father’ or ‘My mother,’ the wealth of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria will be carried away before the king of Assyria.”
5 The Lord spoke to me again: 6 “Because this people has refused the waters of Shiloah that flow gently, and rejoice over Rezin and the son of Remaliah, 7 therefore, behold, the Lord is bringing up against them the waters of the River,[c] mighty and many, the king of Assyria and all his glory. And it will rise over all its channels and go over all its banks, 8 and it will sweep on into Judah, it will overflow and pass on, reaching even to the neck, and its outspread wings will fill the breadth of your land, O Immanuel.”
9 Be broken,[d] you peoples, and be shattered;[e]
give ear, all you far countries;
strap on your armor and be shattered;
strap on your armor and be shattered.
10 Take counsel together, but it will come to nothing;
speak a word, but it will not stand,
for God is with us.[f]
Fear God, Wait for the Lord
11 For the Lord spoke thus to me with his strong hand upon me, and warned me not to walk in the way of this people, saying: 12 “Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread. 13 But the Lord of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. 14 And he will become a sanctuary and a stone of offense and a rock of stumbling to both houses of Israel, a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 15 And many shall stumble on it. They shall fall and be broken; they shall be snared and taken.”
16 Bind up the testimony; seal the teaching[g] among my disciples. 17 I will wait for the Lord, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob, and I will hope in him. 18 Behold, I and the children whom the Lord has given me are signs and portents in Israel from the Lord of hosts, who dwells on Mount Zion. 19 And when they say to you, “Inquire of the mediums and the necromancers who chirp and mutter,” should not a people inquire of their God? Should they inquire of the dead on behalf of the living? 20 To the teaching and to the testimony! If they will not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn. 21 They will pass through the land,[h] greatly distressed and hungry. And when they are hungry, they will be enraged and will speak contemptuously against[i] their king and their God, and turn their faces upward. 22 And they will look to the earth, but behold, distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish. And they will be thrust into thick darkness.
- Isaiah 8:1 Hebrew with a man’s stylus
- Isaiah 8:1 Maher-shalal-hash-baz means The spoil speeds, the prey hastens
- Isaiah 8:7 That is, the Euphrates
- Isaiah 8:9 Or Be evil
- Isaiah 8:9 Or dismayed
- Isaiah 8:10 The Hebrew for God is with us is Immanuel
- Isaiah 8:16 Or law; also verse 20
- Isaiah 8:21 Hebrew it
- Isaiah 8:21 Or speak contemptuously by