Isaiah 8: Let Him be your Fear, Let Him be your Dread

The Lord of hosts, Him you shall hallow; Let Him be your fear, And let Him be your dread.  Isaiah 8:13

Assyria, God’s Instrument


Destruction Certain; 8:1-10.  Isaiah gives a third sign to his nation.  Before witnesses he writes a name which means “Quick to the Plunder, Swift to the Spoil.”  Nine month later his wife (a prophetess) bears a son who is given that name.  Judgment hastens, and the capitals of Aram (Syria) and Israel will be destroyed before the child is a year old!  Then the army of Assyria will overflow, flooding into Judah, and no strategy will save her.

Accept the Judgment; 8:11-22.  God warns Isaiah not to react when this message raises charges of treason and conspiracy.  He is to fear God, not man, for only the Lord is worthy of trust.  Thus Isaiah remains faithful and stands with his family as a sign to Judah.

As for the people, they creep off in terror to consult mediums and spiritualists, but will not turn back to God and his law.

8:4 spoil of Samaria… king of Assyria:  This is specific prediction of the fall of Samaria to the Assyrians in 722 B.C.  This prophecy has to have been written shortly before that time, as the fulfillment would come before the new child would be able to speak.

4  for before the child shall have knowledge to cry ‘My father’ and ‘My mother,’ the riches of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria will be taken away before the king of Assyria.”

In the middle of v. 8 the image of Assyria as mighty waters changes to the image of a bird of prey, Isaiah bestows the name of the promised Child, Immanuel (7:14), on Judah, because it would be preserved only because God was with that nation.

7  Now therefore, behold, the Lord brings up over them The waters of the River, strong and mighty– The king of Assyria and all his glory; He will go up over all his channels And go over all his banks. 8  He will pass through Judah, He will overflow and pass over, He will reach up to the neck; And the stretching out of his wings Will fill the breadth of Your land, O Immanuel.

8:10 It will not stand:  The Lord would defeat the purposes of Judah’s enemies; all their counsels would come to nothing.  This promise concludes the prophecies 7:1-8:10.  The Child whose name would mean God is with us (v. 8; 7:14), was a sign not only of the destruction of Syria and Israel, but of all of God’s enemies, including Assyria.

10  Take counsel together, but it will come to nothing; Speak the word, but it will not stand, For God is with us.”

8:14 God is a sanctuary for believers, but a stone of stumbling for unbelievers.  Both the houses designates both the northern and the southern kingdom, that is, both Israel and Judah.

8:12 Do not say:  The commands in vv. 12, 13, 15, 19 are in the plural.  Perhaps Isaiah’s adversaries wee labeling his rejection of an alliance with Assyria a conspiracy.

12  “Do not say, ‘A conspiracy,’ Concerning all that this people call a conspiracy, Nor be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.

8:13 Hallow (sanctify) means to treat as holy.  Your fear indicates a sense of reverence, awe, and wonder.  Your dread indicates fright and terror.  If the people want to respond to God correctly, they should treat His name with awe and fear Him.

13  The Lord of hosts, Him you shall hallow; Let Him be your fear, And let Him be your dread.

8:14 God is a sanctuary for believers, but a stone of stumbling for unbelievers.  Both the houses designates both the northern and the southern kingdom, that is, both Israel and Judah.

14  He will be as a sanctuary, But a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense To both the houses of Israel, As a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

8:17 wait… hope:  These words indicate a confident expectation that God would meet the needs of His people and deliver them from disaster.  Ultimately, the hope of Isaiah would be fulfilled in the Savior Jesus (Heb. 2:12, 13).

16  Bind up the testimony, Seal the law among my disciples. 17  And I will wait on the Lord, Who hides His face from the house of Jacob; And I will hope in Him.

8:18 children:  Isaiah, whose name speaks of the salvation of God, and his two sons, whose names speak of the impending judgment of God, were signs and wonders in Israel – that is, they were symbols.  Mount Zion:  The place of the holy temple was a mirror of God’s dwelling in the highest heaven.

18  Here am I and the children whom the Lord has given me! We are for signs and wonders in Israel From the Lord of hosts, Who dwells in Mount Zion.

8:19-22 The panic of unbelief.  A Godly fear of the Lord brings a sense of security.  A failure to fear God condemns men to panic when disasters come.  Their desperate search for aid will be futile, and they are doomed to “fearful gloom.”  How ironic that those who reject God typically end up blaming and cursing Him for their fate!

19  And when they say to you, “Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter,” should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living? 20  To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. 21  They will pass through it hard pressed and hungry; and it shall happen, when they are hungry, that they will be enraged and curse their king and their God, and look upward. 22  Then they will look to the earth, and see trouble and darkness, gloom of anguish; and they will be driven into darkness.

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