Isaiah 8

If a nation insists on rejecting God’s counsels,
it is just with God to apply the scourge.
However in the deluge of trouble that may come to a nation,
God will keep the heads of His trusting people above water,
if they will make His statutes, rather than those having familiar spirits, their counselors.

1 Moreover the LORD said unto me, Take thee a great roll, and write in it with a man’s pen concerning Maher-shalal-hash-baz.

2 And I took unto me faithful witnesses to record, Uriah the priest, and Zechariah the son of Jeberechiah.

3 And I went unto the prophetess; and she conceived, and bare a son. Then said the LORD to me, Call his name Maher-shalal-hash-baz.

4 For before the child shall have knowledge to cry, My father, and my mother, the riches of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria shall be taken away before the king of Assyria.

5 ¶ The LORD spake also unto me again, saying,

6 Forasmuch as this people refuseth the waters of Shiloah that go softly, and rejoice in Rezin and Remaliah’s son;

7 Now therefore, behold, the Lord bringeth up upon them the waters of the river, strong and many, even the king of Assyria, and all his glory: and he shall come up over all his channels, and go over all his banks:

8 And he shall pass through Judah; he shall overflow and go over, he shall reach even to the neck; and the stretching out of his wings shall fill the breadth of thy land, O Immanuel.

9 ¶ Associate yourselves, O ye people, and ye shall be broken in pieces; and give ear, all ye of far countries: gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces; gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces.

10 Take counsel together, and it shall come to nought; speak the word, and it shall not stand: for God is with us.

11 ¶ For the LORD spake thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this people, saying,

12 Say ye not, A confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid.

13 Sanctify the LORD of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.

14 And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

15 And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken.

16 Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples.

17 And I will wait upon the LORD, that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him.

18 Behold, I and the children whom the LORD hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the LORD of hosts, which dwelleth in mount Zion.

19 ¶ And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead?

20 To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.

21 And they shall pass through it, hardly bestead and hungry: and it shall come to pass, that when they shall be hungry, they shall fret themselves, and curse their king and their God, and look upward.

22 And they shall look unto the earth; and behold trouble and darkness, dimness of anguish; and they shall be driven to darkness.

Isaiah 7:18-25; 8:1-4 – ​A Foreign Foe—God’s Instrument

   Ahaz, as we have seen, summoned the king of Assyria to his aid. This policy, dictated by human prudence, was fraught with vast peril. He and his advisers would rue their choice, and would have to pay dearly for introducing Assyria into the complicated politics of these minor states. Though this policy might effect a temporary success, like that which Isaiah indicated in the naming of his newborn child, yet ultimately it would work out disastrously, in the depopulation and desolation of the country. The impoverished peasants would have one cow instead of a herd, and two sheep instead of a flock. Is not this true of all the expedients which we substitute for faith in God? At first they promise well but they disappoint and fail. It is the old lesson: “Lean not unto thine own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5). —Through the Bible Day by Day

Isaiah 8:5-18 – ​Fear God’s Power, not Man’s

   It seems likely that Syria and Samaria attacked Ahaz because he would not join in a federation against the growing power of Assyria. A strong party seems to have pressed this policy on him, but in all such schemes they repudiated the Divine Protection, Isaiah 8:6. Compare Psalm 46:4. Ahaz and the court party on the other hand, sought to federate with Assyria. But Isaiah never ceased to urge that the true line of defense was to put away whatever was inconsistent with the fear of God. He would be the sanctuary of defense and hiding in the day of trouble, Isaiah 8:13-14. We learn from Hebrews 2:13, how absolutely, when speaking thus, the prophet was being prompted by the Holy Spirit. If men will not build on God’s foundation-stone, they fall over it to their hurt. Compare Isaiah 8:15 and Matthew 21:44. Are we not all in danger of substituting human alliances for federation and union with the eternal God? Let our fellowship be with the Father and the Son; and let us wait for Him till the day dawn and the day star shines, II Peter 1:19. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Isaiah 8:12-13—The Lord of Hosts, let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread.

​   The land was panic-stricken for fear of the coalition of Samaria and Damascus. The politicians were seeking the alliance of Assyria, the superstitious had recourse to familiar spirits and wizards. Amid the panic the voice of Isaiah is heard bidding the people fear with only one kind of fear. Not their fear, but the fear of God; not their dread, but his. The apostle Peter quotes these words, when he says, “If ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts” (I Peter 3:14-15).
   On the prairies men often fight fire with fire. Against the career of the wall of flame there is but one resource; before it reaches the terrified fugitives they must light a fire to sweep the ground bare, that when the advancing horror reaches the spot there will be no fuel left for it to feed on. So with the heart of man, the only true preservation from fear of our fellows is an overmastering fear of our God. Sanctify Him in your hearts. Let Him be your fear and dread.
   It is remarkable that Jacob sware by the Fear of his father Isaac. And this appears to have quieted his heart in the presence of Laban. When the fear of God is strong, the thought of grieving Him, or incurring his just wrath and indignation, is most cogent in warning us from sin! This delivers us from all other fear. One of the greatest sentences a man can utter when tempted to sin or threatened with suffering for the uprightness of his life or the correctness of his creed, is to say simply, quietly, and strongly: “I fear God, and have no other fear.” Fear Him: so shall ye be established; so shall ye prosper. —Our Daily Homily


Genuine life loves motion, energy, enterprise, destination. It cannot stand still nor lie dormant; it cannot go in a circle even, it must have a goal and a destiny. For this reason Agnosticism can never be the philosophy for this human race, because it is a ship without steam or sail and it will use neither oars nor rudder. It is content to lie upon the spacious ocean of Eternity, tossed by doubt, fascinated by Fate pursuing, indifferent as regards companionship or success. A cheerless, lonely drifting vessel on a sea that has no shores and no haven.

Isaiah 8:22