23rd July 2020
Isaiah 8:1-18 - PAY ATTENTION TO GOD
In Isaiah 8, we learn about the Lord’s judgment on sin. The nation of Israeli had split into two; the northern part and the southern part (Judah). The people had turned to idol worship and witchcraft. God was not pleased with them. He instructed Isaiah to write the words “Maher Shalal Hash Baz” (this means quick to the plunder, swift to the spoil) on a large scroll and He named two witnesses, Uriah and Zechariah, as reliable witnesses. Can you imagine God choosing you by name as a reliable witness? Uriah and Zechariah must have been impressive men of faith. Unfortunately, the people of Israel were much less impressive. God warned the Israelites that a terrible judgment was about to come upon them, because of their sin. God was angry with their disunity, rebellion and disobedience. They had been given many opportunities to repent of their sin but they had unfortunately chosen to ignore God. God wanted the people to pay attention to his message. He even instructed Isaiah to name his son Maher Shalal Hash Baz as a sign to the people and to indicate the timescale of this judgment (v4).
God told Isaiah that because the people had rejected Him and His commands, they would be completely defeated and destroyed by the king of Assyria and his army. (v6-8) God was about to send His judgment upon them and it was going to be terrible. The people could try to fight, plot and make as many preparations as they wanted to, but nothing they did would be able to stand against God’s will and what He had determined to happen (v9-10).
God warned Isaiah that fear, dread, paranoia and “conspiracy theories” would come across the people, and they would try to make pacts or agreements with the enemy, but this is not what the people should do (v12). Instead, they should fear the Lord Almighty from whom this judgment was coming. “He is the one you are to fear, He is the one you are to dread” (v13).
When you have done wrong, there is nothing you can do to avoid God’s judgment. You can try to justify your wrongdoing, hide your bad attitudes, or cover up your sinfulness. You may try to devise all sorts of likely explanations and excuses for what you have done. However, when God has determined to discipline you, there is nothing you can do except to take it. When you fear God and realise that He is Almighty, He will be your sanctuary and protect you from your enemies. However, if you choose to be disobedient and disregard His commands, you will fall and break, you will become trapped and captured by the enemy (v14-15). This Scripture gives us a vivid warning of the price we pay for sin. It is quite simply, destruction.
The best way to prepare ourselves for any adversity is to be obedient to God. We should wait on Him by praying and being attentive to what he is teaching us and be responsive to Him. We need to focus on God and put our trust in Him. Trying to “outwit” His will with idols, backchat, plotting and alliances with people, is not going to help us. We cannot expect to get away with rebellion and willful disobedience.