Isaiah 8 has the prophet continuing his prophecy around Assyria. This time it gets very close to home, as it involves his wife and unborn child. “Then the Lord said to me, Take a large tablet and write on it in common characters, Belonging to Maher-shalal-hash-baz”. God has Isaiah take a tablet and write down the name of his yet to be born son. It’s not often prophets are asked to write things down. Most people couldn’t read, so speaking and storytelling was how information was passed on. But in this case, God asks Isaiah to write down his unborn son’s name.
He goes further asking Isaiah to find two very trusted and high profile witnesses to watch him write it. “And I will get reliable witnesses, Uriah the priest and Zechariah the son of Jeberechiah, to attest for me”. Seems like a bit of overkill, doesn’t it. It’s quite a feat that Isaiah wrote it, but he also gets two very well-known leaders to witness what he did. Then Isaiah goes to the prophetess, or what we’d call his wife, and gives the same message. The birth and naming of her son Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz was a word from God. There can be little question that God’s right in the middle of this birth and it sets a timeline for the destruction of Assyria.
As usual, the people were complaining about what they had. This time, in regards to rivers. The small and gentle waters should be more highly valued by us than the large and rapid rivers of all the nations, and we ought not to envy the great power of the ungodly. “Because this people has refused the waters of Shiloah that flow gently….therefore….the Lord is bringing up against them the waters of the River, mighty and many, the king of Assyria and all his glory….it will rise over all its channels and go over all its banks, and it will sweep on into Judah, it will overflow and pass on, reaching even to the neck, and its outspread wings will fill the breadth of your land”. God makes it clear – you want more river – I’ll give you more, way more than you can imagine.
Isaiah makes it clear that God’s people are fearing the wrong things. They are afraid of the Assyrian army, but it is God they should fear. “But the Lord of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread”. He’s the one who will unleash the power on them. God warns Isaiah to not go with the rest of the people in their misguided direction. And he makes the right choice, the choice to follow God. “I will wait for the Lord, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob, and I will hope in him”. We have to be willing to stand alone and do what is right – obedience to God’s instruction. That’s how we avoid being consumed by the enemy or God’s wrath.