Isaiah will now leave King Ahaz and his court and now make a plea and a prophecy to the people. King Ahaz has hardened his heart against God and now Isaiah will plead with the people to place their faith in God and not their governing officials. Peace is something our world will talk about until the end of time and many people are looking for peace but they are doing so by looking to people and circumstances to gain that peace.People think finances or government can bring them peace but as the people in Isaiah’s day will be warned those things cannot bring you peace because only God can.
Isaiah 8:1-4 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.”
1) Peace by remembering the Promises of God
“Write this down” God just gave a long term prophecy in Isaiah 7:14 but now God will give a short term prophecy so that the people can have faith in Him. This time God will talk about a child that Isaiah and his wife will have that is a reminder to the people that God is in control. God calls on Uriah the priest and Zechariah who were probably not supporters of Isaiah and probably skeptics about the prophecies that Isaiah was making to be witnesses to this short term prophecy. Even though people are spiritual like a priest they can still deny the power of God in this life. (2 Timothy 3:5) They will now be the witness to the things of God is going to do as Isaiah writes the name of his son Maher-shalal-hash –baz who will be born nine months later. The child would be a reminder that God is going to have the spoils of Samaria (capital of Israel) and have Damascus (Syria) plundered by the King of Assyria. Israel and Syria were both going to attack Judah so this was good news for Judah who thought they made the right decision by placing their faith in Assyria.
Isaiah already talked in Chapter 7 about their destruction but many of the people may not have heard that part of the prophecy. God not only said what He was going to do He even gave them a time frame that it would happen before Isaiah’s child can say mother or Father. When tragedy strikes we must remember what God has already said and rely on Him for our salvation rather than on other people, politicians, military power. We can have peace when we exercise faith in the promises of God.
John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
Peace is more than the absence of conflict it is first about being at peace with God. Isaiah wrote down the prophecy for all to see and we need to write down the promises of God so that we also can have peace when our lives are in peril.
Isaiah 8:5-10 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]
2) Peace comes through the ways of God
“Because the people have rejected”The issue was that the people who should have been placing their faith in God and God alone were seeking out other means to deal with life’s problems. They put their trust in another countries military rather than placing their trust in God. Because they rejected God they will suffer consequences by God by allowing them to get what they wanted. When tragedy strikes or life does not go the way people think it is amazing how quickly they give up on God. The peace in their life they hoped to attain through other means will come back and bring them more problems.
Gentle waters of Shiloah is God who is the river of Life. This is who Jesus compared Himself to as the woman at the well. She had 5 husbands and now was with another man who was not here husband. She was looking for peace and happiness that would not be found by the ways of the world.
John 4:13-14 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again.[a] The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
The things that we think are going to bring us peace seem to leave us longing for something more and just like the woman at the well we keep filling our lives with other things hoping that it is the solution. The waters of the River are the Assyrian army which instead of bringing peace it is going to flood till they are neck deep. O Immanuel was a short prayer or reminder to the followers of God that regardless how bad things became God was with them.
Proverbs 21:30-31 No wisdom, no understanding, no counsel can avail against the Lord.31 The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord.
We can rest assured that what seems to us as a tragedy God is working for purposes that go beyond our understanding. One of the promises we have as Christians is that God is with us. My only disclaimer I will give is that some people think they are Christians when they are not.
2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!
Those who are not truly followers of Christ cannot claim the promises of God. Just because you say you are a Christian does not mean you are one. Are you following or just giving lip service? Matthew 21 Jesus said the one who was the obedient son was the one who the work not just said that he was going to do the work. Many of the people Isaiah was talking to were not followers of God but worshiped other gods and so the people Isaiah was encouraging with the phrase “Immanuel” were the ones who were going to go through tragedy for no reason of their own.
Strap on your armor and be shattered, Take counsel together but come to nothing. How many times do we do our best and leave God out of our plans? God is letting them know that their best efforts and their best plans are going to fail them because they have rejected Him and placed their trust in other things. Shattered means inner psychological stress which drains people of the will to resist. They Give up. Although it looks like the enemy will win God is assuring them that His plans will not be overtaken.
Isaiah 8:11-15 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.”
3) Peace comes by Fearing God not People or Circumstances.
“Do not follow the way of this people ““This People” was a distinction from those who did not follow God. We are not to follow the wisdom or the ways of the world. Isn’t amazing that what is happing in our day has been happening 700 years before Christ was even born? Ahaz may have been spreading false news to cover his poor decisions and people were buying into conspiracy theories. We are not to get caught up in foolish talk that leads to fear. Do some conspiracy theories come true? Of course but that is not supposed to be our focus. We should be in “Awe” (reverence/ fear) of God and not in Awe of people or circumstances.
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart which means your mind and emotions. Do not lean on your own understanding. (You do not have it figured out) He will guide you.
“The Lord of Host let Him be your fear “Nothing should bring you fear more than God if it does than you made the problem bigger than it is and you made God smaller than He is.
“The Rock of Refuge” Refuge a place where you can go to escape from harm. If you can imagine a flood and you find a Giant rock to climb up on for safety that is what God is for those who put their faith and their hope in Him.
Psalm 18:2-3 The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. 3 I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.
Gods promise to the people that followed Him is that the waters would only get neck deep but would not destroy them. God’s promise of a Messiah that would save the world will still come through Judah no matter how bad things look.
“A Stone that causes men to stumble” For those who continue to trust themselves or others then the rock becomes something that destroys them.
Matthew 21:42-44 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: “‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone;[d] this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? 43 Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits. 44 And the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.”[e
The rock can save your or destroy you the choice is yours. Trap is something that destroys you when you least expect it. When we give into the ways of the world then we become trapped and taken captive by its lies. We should not be caught in the same traps the world is in because our peace is in God.
Do you only have peace when your circumstances are going your way or do you have peace because you have placed your hope and Trust in God through Jesus Christ? Do you fear what the rest of the world fears? If so you are not trusting in God. Do you trust the promises of God? Have you placed your hope on the Rock which is Jesus Christ? The peace Jesus gives is first with God because He takes His wrath away. Peace then comes when we see the world from God’s perspective and do not rely on the ways of the world for our peace.