Isaiah 8:1–15 (NLT): The Coming Assyrian Invasion
Then the Lord said to me, “Make a large signboard and clearly write this name on it: Maher-shalal-hash-baz.” 2 I asked Uriah the priest and Zechariah son of Jeberekiah, both known as honest men, to witness my doing this.
3 Then I slept with my wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. And the Lord said, “Call him Maher-shalal-hash-baz. 4 For before this child is old enough to say ‘Papa’ or ‘Mama,’ the king of Assyria will carry away both the abundance of Damascus and the riches of Samaria.”
5 Then the Lord spoke to me again and said, 6 “My care for the people of Judah is like the gently flowing waters of Shiloah, but they have rejected it. They are rejoicing over what will happen to King Rezin and King Pekah. 7 Therefore, the Lord will overwhelm them with a mighty flood from the Euphrates River—the king of Assyria and all his glory. This flood will overflow all its channels 8 and sweep into Judah until it is chin deep. It will spread its wings, submerging your land from one end to the other, O Immanuel.
9 “Huddle together, you nations, and be terrified.
Listen, all you distant lands.
Prepare for battle, but you will be crushed!
Yes, prepare for battle, but you will be crushed!
10 Call your councils of war, but they will be worthless.
Develop your strategies, but they will not succeed.
For God is with us!”
A Call to Trust the Lord
11 The Lord has given me a strong warning not to think like everyone else does. He said,
12 “Don’t call everything a conspiracy, like they do,
and don’t live in dread of what frightens them.
13 Make the Lord of Heaven’s Armies holy in your life.
He is the one you should fear.
He is the one who should make you tremble.
14 He will keep you safe.
But to Israel and Judah
he will be a stone that makes people stumble,
a rock that makes them fall.
And for the people of Jerusalem
he will be a trap and a snare.
15 Many will stumble and fall,
never to rise again.
They will be snared and captured.”
Immanuel, (or the Latinized version Emmanuel) literally means “God with us”. I that if I had to summarize all 66 chapters of the prophet Isaiah, I could not do better than that. Immanuel. God with us.
The impact of that is enormous! If God walked into my living room today, I would have about ten different emotions going through me.
That’s about 9 more than I can normally handle at a time. I think my mind would be filled with wonder and worry all at once. I’d probably just stand there speechless and hope I didn’t drool. To believe that God could become a human being is one thing. Meeting Him in person is another thing altogether.
Israel was not looking for God in flesh. They only desired the return of His presence, noted most importantly by His favor. They wanted the blessing, not the Blesser Himself. God just wanted them.
God’s presence means more than just good times for all his people. It means judgment too. I think He chooses to begin judgment with His own people because He knows we can be better with His guidance. His judgment tempered with His mercy transforms us from fallen creatures into a new creation by being a “rock” or “snare”, as Isaiah puts it, that trips us up and captures anyone who crosses His path.
There is no escape from God. He is coming. He will not stay away.
Many of us find God by being tripped up and falling, or by being caught in a snare and in need of rescue. But we do not have to wait to hit rock bottom before coming to God. He is ready and waiting for us right now. His only desire is to be with us. God wants to come be with us, so that we can learn to come and live in Him. Will you welcome God into your sanctuary today so that He can become your sanctuary Himself?
- What part of your life do you wish God was more present in?
- What in your life do you wish God would leave alone?
- What is different about the way you see yourself when you are spending time in God’s presence?
All that is within me cries
For you alone be glorified