God’s Word Heard
Loving Lord, I praise You for the joy that comes because You are for me, with me, and within me each day.
Read Isaiah 8:1-10
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
How do you hear God speaking? Spend time listening for his voice in Scripture and prayer now.
After Shear-Jashub (‘a remnant will return’– Isa. 7:3) and Immanuel (“God with us”– Isa. 7:14), the third son-sign, Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz (“spoil speeds, plunder hurries,” v. 1) echoes the cry of soldiers going into battle, expecting booty. Why does Isaiah record the phrase before witnesses (1,2)? The birth of the son (3) and the link to the second son (8) confirm that this is a further warning to Judah. Both king and people would ally with Assyria, whose river Euphrates will overwhelm them, rather than trust in their own waters of Shiloah, the sluggish trickle of water that flows from the Gihon spring at the east side of Jerusalem. King Ahaz (2 Kings 16:7-9) will not only pay tribute to Assyria, but invite future invasion.
The politics of the Syro-Ephraimite alliance against Judah are complex, but it is clear that Isaiah is personally, intimately and directly involved. His own children bear the message that God wants the king and people to hear. The drama of naming them, the significance of their names, and the circumstances of their births all contribute to the method of communication and the urgent, passionate appeal the prophet makes. Why do king and people refuse to heed the warning, and base their hope on political alliances, religious syncretism, and trust in their own human resources?
As with us today, it is tempting to rely on what is seen rather than unseen. Isaiah as a prophet has an alternative view of reality, with God at the center. All of human history is in his hands, but there is a massive disjuncture between the ultimate reality and the present circumstances. Prophets suffer when they bring such a counter-cultural, counter-intuitive message, going against political expediency and correctness. Where are the prophetic voices today in our church, society and nation?
How does God speak to you today about our lives and society? Where is he most concerned, and how can you express his voice?
God of Christmas, how wonderful it is to read of Immanuel, the God who is with me. I pray for those who bring a prophetic word. Give them courage to speak as You direct.
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.
© 2023 Scripture Union U.S.A. All rights reserved. Reproduction of the whole or any part of the contents without written permission is prohibited.
Encounter with God is published in the USA under license from Scripture Union England and Wales, Trinity House, Opal Court, Opal Drive, Fox Milne, Milton Keynes, MK15 0DF.