About Jesus   Steve Sweetman

Home Page

Isaiah 8

Previous Section - Chapter 7 

Next Section - Chapter 9

Fear God (ch. 8:11 - 22)                             


Verse 11 does a good job of portraying what is happing here.  Isaiah says that the "strong hand of the Lord was upon him'.  I picture it this way.  Isaiah is sitting in a room.  God Himself places His hand on Isaiah's shoulder, not lightly, but very firmly.  Then he tells Isaiah not to follow in the ways of his people.  This is exactly what Isaiah needed to hear, and, I believe, it is what Christians need to hear today.  We need to know that the strong hand of the Lord is also upon us, telling us not to follow in the ways of the nations we live in, or, in what is understood as church.   


Note the word "warning" verse 11.  This was not a suggestion from the Lord but a warning.


In verse 12 God tells Isaiah "not to call a conspiracy what the Israelis call a conspiracy".  There's debate over what this exactly means.  Those living in Judah hear that the northern kingdom had conspired with Syria to attack them.  It appears that God told Isaiah not to think of this as a conspiracy, as two nations conspiring against them. 


God goes on to tell Isaiah "not to fear" what the people of Judah fear, that is, the attack from the northern kingdom and Syria. 


This is how I understand this.  Judah 's understanding was that the northern kingdom of Israel and Syria were conspiring to attack them and that made them fear.  In the eyes of God, this was no conspiracy.  The attack on Judah would not succeed.  God knew that, and it was He who caused the attack to fail.  It was not Judah's time to fall, at least not yet.  Thus, Isaiah must not see these events as Judah saw them.


Verse 13 makes it clear.  Judah was to fear God, not the northern kingdom or Syria. 


Verse 14 states that God can be a sanctuary for Judah, but, then comes the "but".   On the other hand, God would become a stone that caused men to stumble and a rock that would cause men to fall.  It was clear, if either the north or the south reject the sanctuary, God would no longer be that safe haven.  He'd be a stone and a rock that would cause men to stumble and fall.  Both the apostle Paul and Peter quote this verse.  Paul, in Romans 9:33 and Peter in 1 Peter 2:8.  Jesus refers to Himself as a stone.  He said in Matthew 21:44 that anyone who falls on this stone, meaning Himself, will be broken, but anyone on whom this stone, meaning Himself will be crushed to pieces.


God Himself echoes what Jesus said.  Or, I suppose you'd say, Jesus echoed what God says in the next half of this verse.  God would be a trap for Jerusalem .  If Judah refused to serve and fear their God, He would not be the sanctuary of safety but a trap and a snare.


Verse 15 is a clear prediction of what will happen to many living in Jerusalem.  They will fall and they will be broken.  This was realized in 586 B. C. when Babylon overthrew Judah and ravaged Jerusalem.  But that wasn't the only time in history when such things happened to Jerusalem.  The same happened in 70 A. D. when the Romans came into Jerusalem and devastated the city. 


The word of the Lord has been spoken and in verse 16 it was to be bound and sealed.  It was to stand as a testimony to Judah. 


Verse 17 is spoken by Isaiah.  He says that he will trust the Lord, the very Lord who is hiding His face from Judah.  Isaiah would wait patiently for the Lord to do whatever He deemed right.  No matter what happened to Judah , he would still trust the Lord. 


In verse 18 we see that there were a few others standing with Isaiah.  They would be witnesses to the Lord.  They would represent Him to the nation, even if the nation failed to obey the Lord.  The remnant would be faithful.  Christians in this anti-Christ world today need the same conviction that Isaiah is demonstrating here. 


Verse 19 shows us the condition of the southern kingdom of Israel.  They were consulting spiritualists.  They were consulting demons instead of the Lord and they were trying to get Isaiah to do the same. 


The rest of the chapter seems to not only state the near future of Judah but the end of this age.  Things will get so bad for Judah that they will look up to their God and curse Him.  This reminds me of the book of Revelation.  Even though all of the earth is filled with terror and darkness, the wrath of God, people will curse God.  They will not repent.  By the time the Great Tribulation is underway, people will know there is more to what is going on than mere political and environmental upheaval.  They will know this is the wrath of God and they will curse God for it. 



Next Section - Chapter 9

Previous Section - Chapter 7

Home Page