I WILL WAIT
Dear God, in the drama of Bethlehem, You showed that words are not enough. You gave Your only Son. Bless the Lord, O my soul.
Read Isaiah 8
Isaiah and His Children as Signs
8 The Lord said to me, “Take a large scroll and write on it with an ordinary pen: Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz.”[a] 2 So I called in Uriah the priest and Zechariah son of Jeberekiah as reliable witnesses for me. 3 Then I made love to the prophetess, and she conceived and gave birth to a son. And the Lord said to me, “Name him Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz. 4 For before the boy knows how to say ‘My father’ or ‘My mother,’ the wealth of Damascus and the plunder of Samaria will be carried off by the king of Assyria.”
5 The Lord spoke to me again:
6 “Because this people has rejected
the gently flowing waters of Shiloah
and rejoices over Rezin
and the son of Remaliah,
7 therefore the Lord is about to bring against them
the mighty floodwaters of the Euphrates—
the king of Assyria with all his pomp.
It will overflow all its channels,
run over all its banks
8 and sweep on into Judah, swirling over it,
passing through it and reaching up to the neck.
Its outspread wings will cover the breadth of your land,
9 Raise the war cry,[c] you nations, and be shattered!
Listen, all you distant lands.
Prepare for battle, and be shattered!
Prepare for battle, and be shattered!
10 Devise your strategy, but it will be thwarted;
propose your plan, but it will not stand,
for God is with us.[d]
11 This is what the Lord says to me with his strong hand upon me, warning me not to follow the way of this people:
12 “Do not call conspiracy
everything this people calls a conspiracy;
do not fear what they fear,
and do not dread it.
13 The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy,
he is the one you are to fear,
he is the one you are to dread.
14 He will be a holy place;
for both Israel and Judah he will be
a stone that causes people to stumble
and a rock that makes them fall.
And for the people of Jerusalem he will be
a trap and a snare.
15 Many of them will stumble;
they will fall and be broken,
they will be snared and captured.”
16 Bind up this testimony of warning
and seal up God’s instruction among my disciples.
17 I will wait for the Lord,
who is hiding his face from the descendants of Jacob.
I will put my trust in him.
18 Here am I, and the children the Lord has given me. We are signs and symbols in Israel from the Lord Almighty, who dwells on Mount Zion.
The Darkness Turns to Light
19 When someone tells you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living? 20 Consult God’s instruction and the testimony of warning. If anyone does not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn. 21 Distressed and hungry, they will roam through the land; when they are famished, they will become enraged and, looking upward, will curse their king and their God. 22 Then they will look toward the earth and see only distress and darkness and fearful gloom, and they will be thrust into utter darkness.
- Isaiah 8:1 Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz means quick to the plunder, swift to the spoil; also in verse 3.
- Isaiah 8:8 Immanuel means God with us.
- Isaiah 8:9 Or Do your worst
- Isaiah 8:10 Hebrew Immanuel
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Reflect‘Joy to the world’ includes the line ‘Let every heart prepare Him room’.* Take a moment to prepare your heart to welcome Him.
Advent is a season of waiting in the darkness. Today is Christmas Eve (if you have managed to keep up with your Bible reading in what can be a very busy season), the fulfillment of all we have been waiting for is almost over. But let us avoid the temptation to race ahead into the joy of Christmas Day, and pause once more in the darkness.
As we look around this world, it is easy to see that God’s judgment is upon us. The rage, distress, and cursing described in verses 21 and 22 are very obvious in our neighborhoods and workplaces.
But like Isaiah and his children, we can be signs and symbols from the Lord in the midst of the darkness (18).
How? By seeing the world around us with eyes of faith. We are commanded not to fear what our culture tends to fear (12), but to fear the Lord, waiting faithfully and trusting in Him (see also Philippians 2:14–16).
Waiting is a hard but powerful discipline. Take a few minutes to deliberately stop and wait for the Lord. It might help to say verse 17 aloud: ‘I will wait for the Lord … I will put my trust in him’ (17).
Lord of the Manger, at this season fill my heart with kindness, so that I may become more like You. I give thanks to You, Prince of Peace.
*Isaac Watts, 1674–1748, ‘Joy to the world’, 1719
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