Major Prophets – Isaiah 7-9

When Ahaz son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, was king of Judah, King Rezin of Aram and Pekah son of Remaliah king of Israel marched up to fight against Jerusalem, but they could not overpower it.
Now the house of David was told, “Aram has allied itself with Ephraim”; so the hearts of Ahaz and his people were shaken, as the trees of the forest are shaken by the wind.
Then the Lord said to Isaiah, “Go out, you and your son Shear-Jashub, to meet Ahaz at the end of the aqueduct of the Upper Pool, on the road to the Launderer’s Field. Say to him, ‘Be careful, keep calm and don’t be afraid. Do not lose heart because of these two smoldering stubs of firewood—because of the fierce anger of Rezin and Aram and of the son of Remaliah. Aram, Ephraim and Remaliah’s son have plotted your ruin, saying, “Let us invade Judah; let us tear it apart and divide it among ourselves, and make the son of Tabeel king over it.” Yet this is what the Sovereign Lord says:
“‘It will not take place,
    it will not happen,
for the head of Aram is Damascus,
    and the head of Damascus is only Rezin.
Within sixty-five years
    Ephraim will be too shattered to be a people.
The head of Ephraim is Samaria,
    and the head of Samaria is only Remaliah’s son.
If you do not stand firm in your faith,
    you will not stand at all.’”
Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, “Ask the Lord your God for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights.”
But Ahaz said, “I will not ask; I will not put the Lord to the test.”
Then Isaiah said, “Hear now, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of humans? Will you try the patience of my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. He will be eating curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, for before the boy knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, the land of the two kings you dread will be laid waste. The Lord will bring on you and on your people and on the house of your father a time unlike any since Ephraim broke away from Judah—he will bring the king of Assyria.”
In that day the Lord will whistle for flies from the Nile delta in Egypt and for bees from the land of Assyria. They will all come and settle in the steep ravines and in the crevices in the rocks, on all the thornbushes and at all the water holes. In that day the Lord will use a razor hired from beyond the Euphrates River—the king of Assyria—to shave your head and private parts, and to cut off your beard also. In that day, a person will keep alive a young cow and two goats. And because of the abundance of the milk they give, there will be curds to eat. All who remain in the land will eat curds and honey. In that day, in every place where there were a thousand vines worth a thousand silver shekels, there will be only briers and thorns. Hunters will go there with bow and arrow, for the land will be covered with briers and thorns. As for all the hills once cultivated by the hoe, you will no longer go there for fear of the briers and thorns; they will become places where cattle are turned loose and where sheep run.

  • Isaiah 7:1-25

The Lord said to me, “Take a large scroll and write on it with an ordinary pen: Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz.” So I called in Uriah the priest and Zechariah son of Jeberekiah as reliable witnesses for me. Then I made love to the prophetess, and she conceived and gave birth to a son. And the Lord said to me, “Name him Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz. For before the boy knows how to say ‘My father’ or ‘My mother,’ the wealth of Damascus and the plunder of Samaria will be carried off by the king of Assyria.”
The Lord spoke to me again:
“Because this people has rejected
    the gently flowing waters of Shiloah
and rejoices over Rezin
    and the son of Remaliah,
therefore the Lord is about to bring against them
    the mighty floodwaters of the Euphrates—
    the king of Assyria with all his pomp.
It will overflow all its channels,
    run over all its banks
and sweep on into Judah, swirling over it,
    passing through it and reaching up to the neck.
Its outspread wings will cover the breadth of your land,
Raise the war cry, you nations, and be shattered!
    Listen, all you distant lands.
Prepare for battle, and be shattered!
    Prepare for battle, and be shattered!
Devise your strategy, but it will be thwarted;
    propose your plan, but it will not stand,
    for God is with us.
This is what the Lord says to me with his strong hand upon me, warning me not to follow the way of this people:
“Do not call conspiracy
    everything this people calls a conspiracy;
do not fear what they fear,
    and do not dread it.
The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy,
    he is the one you are to fear,
    he is the one you are to dread.
He will be a holy place;
    for both Israel and Judah he will be
a stone that causes people to stumble
    and a rock that makes them fall.
And for the people of Jerusalem he will be
    a trap and a snare.
Many of them will stumble;
    they will fall and be broken,
    they will be snared and captured.”
Bind up this testimony of warning
    and seal up God’s instruction among my disciples.
I will wait for the Lord,
    who is hiding his face from the descendants of Jacob.
I will put my trust in him.
Here am I, and the children the Lord has given me. We are signs and symbols in Israel from the Lord Almighty, who dwells on Mount Zion.
When someone tells you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living? Consult God’s instruction and the testimony of warning. If anyone does not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn. Distressed and hungry, they will roam through the land; when they are famished, they will become enraged and, looking upward, will curse their king and their God. Then they will look toward the earth and see only distress and darkness and fearful gloom, and they will be thrust into utter darkness.

  • Isaiah 8:1-22

Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan—
The people walking in darkness
    have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
    a light has dawned.
You have enlarged the nation
    and increased their joy;
they rejoice before you
    as people rejoice at the harvest,
as warriors rejoice
    when dividing the plunder.
For as in the day of Midian’s defeat,
    you have shattered
the yoke that burdens them,
    the bar across their shoulders,
    the rod of their oppressor.
Every warrior’s boot used in battle
    and every garment rolled in blood
will be destined for burning,
    will be fuel for the fire.
For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
    there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
    and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
    with justice and righteousness
    from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
    will accomplish this.
The Lord has sent a message against Jacob;
    it will fall on Israel.
All the people will know it—
    Ephraim and the inhabitants of Samaria—
who say with pride
    and arrogance of heart,
“The bricks have fallen down,
    but we will rebuild with dressed stone;
the fig trees have been felled,
    but we will replace them with cedars.”
But the Lord has strengthened Rezin’s foes against them
    and has spurred their enemies on.
Arameans from the east and Philistines from the west
    have devoured Israel with open mouth.
Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away,
    his hand is still upraised.
But the people have not returned to him who struck them,
    nor have they sought the Lord Almighty.
So the Lord will cut off from Israel both head and tail,
    both palm branch and reed in a single day;
the elders and dignitaries are the head,
    the prophets who teach lies are the tail.
Those who guide this people mislead them,
    and those who are guided are led astray.
Therefore the Lord will take no pleasure in the young men,
    nor will he pity the fatherless and widows,
for everyone is ungodly and wicked,
    every mouth speaks folly.
Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away,
    his hand is still upraised.
Surely wickedness burns like a fire;
    it consumes briers and thorns,
it sets the forest thickets ablaze,
    so that it rolls upward in a column of smoke.
By the wrath of the Lord Almighty
    the land will be scorched
and the people will be fuel for the fire;
    they will not spare one another.
On the right they will devour,
    but still be hungry;
on the left they will eat,
    but not be satisfied.
Each will feed on the flesh of their own offspring:
    Manasseh will feed on Ephraim, and Ephraim on Manasseh;
    together they will turn against Judah.
Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away,
    his hand is still upraised.

  • Isaiah 9:1-21

Noted Biblical Scholars, Teachers, and Preachers Comments

Isaiah 7-12 ‘The Book of Immanuel’: “This section of Isaiah is sometimes called the Book of Immanuel because the name Immanuel appears twice (7:14; 8:8). In parts of this segment of Isaiah the prophet deals with prophecy that has already been fulfilled, and in other parts he speaks of prophecies yet to be fulfilled.
“Isaiah 7:14 contains the prophet’s famous prediction of the virgin birth of Christ, who is given the prophetically symbolic name Immanuel, meaning ‘God with us.’ Much has been written about this amazing prophecy. The apostles, the early church fathers, the medieval theologians, and Protestant reformers were unanimously confident that this messianic prophecy was fulfilled in the virgin birth of Christ. In fact, the prophecy so clearly predicts the miraculous virginal conception that medieval Jewish scholars attempted to explain it away in order to defend their rejection of Christ as the promised Messiah. Despite this, one is hard-pressed to find any Christian writers who objected to this interpretation prior to the eighteenth century.”

  • Tim LaHaye and Ed Hindson, Exploring Bible Prophecy

Isaiah 7:1-9 ‘the sign of Shear-Jabush’: Jerusalem was under siege by the allied forces of Syria and Ephraim. Because Jerusalem had been uncooperative in their attempts to throw off the yoke of Assyria, these two countries turned on Judah and threatened to replace Ahaz with a pawn of their own, Tabeel.
“Frightened, Ahaz has decided to inspect the water supply to his city rather than look to the real Supply of his strength. It is there that Isaiah and his son Shear-Jashub are sent to meet Ahaz. His word to Ahaz is clear: ‘These two little countries to the north are no more of a threat than are two smoldering sticks of firewood. Their plans to invade you will not come to pass.’ Isaiah’s son was there as a sign that the forces to the north would be reduced to only a bare remnant. Their demise is spelled out with clarity in vv.8-9a.
“Isaiah concludes his word to Ahaz with a warning. It is a well-crafted play on the word
‘amen, which means ‘believe, be established, stand firm’ from which we get the word ‘amen’—let it be established. ‘If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.’ In that event, Shear-Jashub becomes a name of warning, meaning that Judah itself will be destroyed, with only a remnant left to return.
“Clearly Isaiah wants Ahaz to act from a position of faith and trust in God. He must not be threatened by Ephraim and Syria. God would see that they were taken care of. Thus there was no need for Ahaz to run to Assyria (as he unfortunately chooses to do) for help. If he could simply trust in God and not in the power of men, then he would stand firm. But, alas, Ahaz knew no such firmness of faith.

  • Eugene E. Carpenter, Asbury Bible Commentary

Isaiah 7:8 ‘Ephraim will be broken’: “This tribe represented the ten northern tribes. The prophet predicted the coming demise because of idolatry (cf. Hos. 4:17). In sixty-five years, they would cease to be a people, first through the captivity of most of them in 722 B.C. (2 Kin. 17:6) and, then, with the importation of foreign settlers into the land in c. 670 B.C. (2 Kin. 17:24; 2 Chr. 33:11; Ezra 4:2).”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Isaiah 7:10-25 ‘the sign of Immanuel’: Perhaps Isaiah saw Ahaz wavering, uncertain. He challenges him to ask God for a sign. With hauntingly hollow piety, Ahaz responds, ’I will not ask; I will not put the Lord to the test.’ He failed to recognize that he alone was the one who was being tested. Isaiah could tolerate this religious posturing no longer: ‘Will you try the patience of my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.’
“The debate over the interpretation of the Hebrew word,
‘almâ is extensive and inconclusive. Whether Isaiah meant a virgin, a young maiden, his own wife, or something else cannot be stated with certainty (cf. this debate in Oswalt, 207-9). Whatever one concludes about the nature of the mother, the primary importance has to do with the son and his name: Immanuel, God with us.
“The question arises, Does the name Immanuel mean weal or woe, blessing or destruction? One of the literary techniques that Isaiah employs is that of double entendre or twofold meaning. This is but one example. The meaning to be realized depends entirely on the choice that is made. If you stand firm in faith, then ‘God is with us’ in blessing. If you do not stand firm in faith, then ‘God is with us’ in judgment.
“Both elements are present in the subsequent prophecy (
vv.15-25). Before the boy is of the age of choosing right and wrong, that is, very shortly, the land of the two kings [Ahaz dreads] will be laid waste. Therefore, God would be with us in blessing (vv.15-16). Indeed, within three years, Damascus had been destroyed and Samaria reduced to nearly nothing, and Samaria was completely destroyed twelve years later.
“However, now it becomes clear that Isaiah has realized that Ahaz would not stand firm in his God but would disobey and turn to Assyria for help. Therefore, ‘God is with us’ in judgment. He will bring upon Judah a time of unprecedented devastation brought about by the very one to whom Ahaz had turned for help, the king of Assyria (
Vv.18-25 speak in figurative language of the coming Assyrian invasion. To be sure, over the next twenty-five years Assyria brought tremendous devastation to Judah.”

  • Eugene E. Carpenter, Asbury Bible Commentary

Isaiah 7:14 ‘cure for the common life’: “God’s treatment for insignificance won’t lead you to a bar or dating service, a spouse or social club. God’s ultimate cure for the common life takes you to a manger. The babe of Bethlehem. Immanuel. Remember the promise of the angel? ‘ ‘The virgin will be pregnant. She will have a son, and they will name him Immanuel,’ which means ‘God is with us” ’ (Matthew 1:23).
“Immanuel. The name appears in the same Hebrew form as it did two thousand years ago.
“ ‘lmmanu’ means ‘with us.’ ‘El’ refers to Elohim, or God. Not an ‘above us God’ or a ‘somewhere in the neighborhood God.’ He came as the ‘with us God.’ God is with us.
“Not ‘God is with the rich’ or ‘God is with the religious.’ But God is with us. All of us. Russians, Germans, Buddhists, Mormons, truck drivers and taxi drivers, librarians. God is with us.”

  • Max Lucado, Cure for the Common Life

Isaiah 7:14 ‘a name with meaning’: Others in ancient times called their children by names that had meaning in them. They did not give them the names of eminent persons whom they would likely grow up to hate and wish they had never heard of. They had names full oi meaning that recorded some circumstance of their birth. There are many similar instances in those days, and perhaps this custom was a good one among the Hebrews—though the peculiar formation oi our language might not allow us to do the same except in a limited way. We see, therefore, that Jesus bore the name ‘Immanuel’ because that name means ‘God with us.’ This is the name of him who is born today. This is his name, ‘God with us’—that is, God with us by his incarnation, for the hallowed Creator of the world did walk on this globe. He who made ten thousand orbs, each of them more mighty and more vast than this earth, became the inhabitant of this tiny planet. He who was from everlasting to everlasting came to this world of time and stood on the narrow neck of land between two massive seas. ‘God with us.’ He has not lost that name—Jesus had that name on earth, and he has it now in heaven. He is now ‘God with us.’ ”

  • Charles H. Spurgeon, from sermon notes

Isaiah 7:14 ‘sign’: “Since Ahaz refused to choose a sign (vv. 11, 12), the Lord chose His own sign, whose implementation would occur far beyond Ahaz’s lifetime. the virgin. This prophecy reached forward to the virgin birth of the Messiah, as the NT notes (Matt. 1:23). The Hebrew word refers to an unmarried woman and means ‘virgin’ (Gen. 24:43; Prov 30:19; Song 1:3; 6:8), so the birth of Isaiah’s own son (8:3) could not have fully satisfied the prophecy. Cf. Genesis 3:15. Immanuel. The title, applied to Jesus in Matthew 1:23, means ‘God with us.’ ”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Isaiah 7:15 ‘Curds and honey’: “Curds result from coagulated milk, something like cottage cheese. This diet indicated the scarcity of provisions which characterized the period after foreign invaders had decimated the land.”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Isaiah 7:16 ‘refuse the evil’: “Before the promised son of Isaiah was old enough to make moral choices, the kings of Syria and Ephraim were to meet their doom at the hands of the Assyrians.”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Isaiah 7:17, 18-25 ‘bring the king of Assyria upon you’: “Not only did the Lord use the Assyrians to judge the northern kingdom; He also used them to invade Ahaz’s domain of Judah. This coming of the Assyrian king was the beginning of the end for the nation, and it eventually led to her captivity in Babylon.
“The desolation prophesied in this section began in the days of Ahaz and reached its climax when the Babylonians conquered Judah. Its results continue to the time when the Messiah will return to deliver Israel and establish His kingdom on earth.”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Isaiah 8:1-4 ‘the sign of Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz’: “To reinforce the prophecy and to make certain that it is known publicly, God orders Isaiah to write it down in the presence of witnesses. The form the prophecy takes is the name-phrase Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz, which means ‘quick to the plunder, swift to the spoil.’ This is reinforced by the giving of this name to yet another son, a sign that soon, within the period of two years (time for conception, birth, and the baby’s first words), Isaiah’s prophecy of the destruction of Damascus (Syria) and Samaria (Ephraim/Israel) will have come to pass. Their plunder and spoils will have been carried off by the king of Assyria.”

  • Eugene E. Carpenter, Asbury Bible Commentary

Isaiah 8:2 ‘faithful witnesses’: “After the prophecy’s fulfillment, the respected leaders Uriah and Zechariah verified to the people that Isaiah had spoken it on a given date before the Assyrian invasion. This verification accredited the Lord’s word and upheld His honor (Deut. 18:21, 22; Jer. 28:9).”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Isaiah 8:5-10 ‘God’s response to Ahaz’s lack of faith’: “It is a rule of life that choices have consequences. Because Ahaz chose to reject the will of God, symbolized here by the gently flowing waters of Shiloah, God will bring against him and his people the overwhelming devastation of the king of Assyria, symbolized by the river that overflows its banks, which the Euphrates River was known to do. The floodwaters of the Assyrian army would sweep over into Judah all the way to Jerusalem (up to the neck) as it in fact did.
“Isaiah concludes v.8 with a cry, ‘O Immanuel.’ It carries the twofold meaning mentioned earlier. On the one hand, it concludes the previous section on a foreboding note: God is with us in judgment and devastation. But implicit in the phrase is the ever-present note of hope, for the fact remains that God is with us. And that leads the prophet to perceive that precisely because God is with us he will not allow his people to be completely overrun by the enemy. The nations may design their strategies and make plans for battle, but they will ultimately come to naught because God is with us (vv.9-10).”

  • Eugene E. Carpenter, Asbury Bible Commentary

Isaiah 8:6 ‘living water’: “There are, in the Bible, many references where God has used the precious, reviving, and life-sustaining qualities of streams of water to give us a true and adequate figure of the gracious, life-giving salvation which He offers all mankind.
“He has promised, ‘l will give you streams of living water.’
“You will find these scriptural allusions to water and refreshment and cleansing and fruit-bearing in figures of speech, in God’s gracious invitations, some spoken in poetic terms.
“In the very last chapter of the Bible-in Revelation—God tells us that the Spirit and the bride: say ‘Come,’ adding that whosoever will may come and ‘take of the water of life freely.’
“The historical reference in this text in Isaiah is to the quietly-flowing waters of Shiloah, a stream sometimes wrongly called Siloam.
“Shiloah is said to have been the only perennial stream in the city of Jerusalem, the only one that did not dry up seasonally. It seems to me that it is exquisitely named. God Himself must have named it, because this Shiloah means tranquility and rest. The waters of Shiloah are the waters of tranquility, the peaceful waters that go softly.”

  • A. W. Tozer, Tozer Speaks II

Isaiah 8:7 ‘waters of the River’: “In place of the waters of Shiloah, the waters of the River Euphrates were to overflow its banks and flood all the way to and including Judah. In other words, the King of Assyria was to sweep through the land with his devastating destruction. Though outwardly Ahaz’s submission to the Assyrians brought peace to Judah (2 Kin. 16:7-18), Isaiah saw the reality that David’s throne was merely a hollow sham.”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Isaiah 8:11-22 ‘When proper perspective is lost’: “Any hope Isaiah may have had of redirecting Ahaz is now long since vanished. Ahaz and his people have resolutely set out on a path that will lead to their destruction. In their disobedience they have lost perspective. It is likely that they even accused Isaiah of conspiracy (v.12). They fear the wrong king. Isaiah is reminded not to get caught up in the misdirection of the people but to fear Yahweh alone.
“In vv.16-18 Isaiah brings his thoughts to a close. He bids his followers to secure these written statements. He has made his vision known; now he will wait for the Lord. He and his children stand as signs of what the Lord will do.
“The words of vv.19-22
appear to be an afterthought. In stark contrast to the prophet who has heard the word of the Lord are those who trust in necromancy, a practice condemned in biblical laws (Lev 19:31; Dt 18:10-11; cf. also the story of Saul and the witch of Endor [1Sa 28]). Isaiah cannot resist a sarcastic blast at the destructive futility of their ways, which he portrays in the graphic terms of darkness, distress, and gloom.”

  • Eugene E. Carpenter, Asbury Bible Commentary

Isaiah 8:14 ‘holy places’: “People often speak of holy places. They sometimes call some building, whether a church or a private chapel, a sanctuary. I take it that this is a mistaken use of the word. No one place is a bit more sacred than another. It is nothing but superstition to suppose that there are especially holy places constructed of bricks and mortar or consecrated stones. Your bedroom, where you bow the knee, may be as near the gate of heaven as the grand cathedral along whose vaulted roofs the music of song has resounded for centuries. Jesus Christ, however, is a sanctuary. He is the holy place of his people’s worship. Treasure that up. You may worship God anywhere if you get with Christ; but if you forget Christ, you can worship God nowhere (see Jn 14:6). You can never have an acceptable worship of the Most High except through Jesus Christ. Too often we try to worship God without Christ. It will never do; it cannot succeed. If you ever leave a worship service feeling that in all the worship there has been no sense of Christ’s presence, no thoughts of his precious blood, then that worship has been worthless, and the time has been wasted. Without the incense of his merit, without the mercy seat of his substitutionary sacrifice, there is no sanctuary, no worship, no drawing near to God.”

  • Charles H. Spurgeon, illustration from sermon notes

Isaiah 8:14 ‘sanctuary … stone of stumbling’: “Isaiah found encouragement in the Lord as his holy place of protection from his accusers. The NT applies this verse to corporate Israel in her ongoing rejection of Jesus as Messiah (Luke 2:34; Rom. 9:32, 33; 1 Pet. 2:8). both the houses of Israel. They will collapse until the return of the Messiah to the `earth restores them.”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Isaiah 9:6 ‘child is born, son is given’: “The sentence is a double one, but it has in it no repetitiveness. It is not a distinction without a difference. Jesus Christ was a child in his human nature, and he was conceived by the work of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He was as truly born, as certainly a child, as any other human being that ever lived on the face of the earth. He is, in his humanity, a child born. But Jesus Christ is also God’s Son; he was and is of the same substance with the Father. The doctrine of the eternal affiliation of Christ is to be received as an undoubted truth of our holy religion. But we cannot explain it, for it remains among the deep things of God—truly one of those solemn mysteries into that the angels dare not look. Nor do they desire to pry into it—a mystery that we must not attempt to fathom—for it is utterly beyond the grasp of any finite being. As a gnat might seek to drink in the ocean, so a finite creature might seek to comprehend the eternal God. A God whom we could understand would be no God. If we could grasp him, he could not be infinite; if we could understand him, then he would not be divine. Jesus Christ, then, as a Son, was not born to us but given. He is a blessing bestowed on us (see Jn 3:16). He was already God’s Son when he was born into ‘ this world, and he was sent or given so that we could clearly perceive that the distinction is a suggestive one and conveys much good truth about God to us.”

  • Charles H. Spurgeon, illustration from sermon notes

Isaiah 9:6 ‘Wonderful’: “His name shall be called Wonderful,’ and only He can engage and excite the wonder of angels and seraphim and cherubim and archangels and all beings and creatures. Only He is wonderful, and He came to us to reconcile us unto Himself. How beautiful, how wonderful!
“There is a song that says, ‘Take all my mortal interests and let them die, and give me only God.’ If you want to pray strategically, in a way which would please God, pray that God might raise up men who would see the beauty of the Lord our God and would begin to preach it and hold it out to people, instead of offering peace of mind, deliverance from cigarettes, a better job, and a nicer cottage.
“God does deliver men from cigarettes; he does help businessmen; he does answer prayer. But they are only incidentals. They’re the kindergarten stage of religion. Why can’t we go on beyond it and say with the psalmist, ‘Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined’ (Psalm 50:2), and look on the hilltop and see the city of our God, the new Jerusalem? God, the Wonder of the universe, is shining out of it.
“What good is all our busy religion if God isn’t in it? What good is it if we’ve lost majesty, reverence, worship-—an awareness of the divine? What good is it if we’ve lost a sense of the Presence and the ability to retreat within our own hearts and meet God in the garden? If we’ve lost that, why build another church? Why make more converts to an effete Christianity? Why bring people to follow after a Savior so far off that He doesn’t own them?”

  • A. W. Tozer, The Attributes of God I

Isaiah 9:6 ‘Child … Son’: “These terms elaborate further on Immanuel, the child to be born to the virgin (7:14). The virgin’s child will also be the royal Son of David, with rights to the Davidic throne (9:7; cf. Matt. 1:21; Luke 1:31-33; 2:7, 11). government. In fulfillment of this verse and Psalm 2:9, the Son will rule the nations of the world (Rev. 2:27; 19:15). Wonderful, Counselor. The remaining three titles each consist of two words, so the intention was probably that each pair of words indicate one title. Here, the title would be “Wonderful Counselor.” In contrast to Ahaz, this King will implement supernatural wisdom in discharging His office (cf. 2 Sam. 16:23; 1 Kin. 3:28). Mighty God. As a powerful warrior, the Messiah will accomplish the military exploits mentioned in 9:3-5 (cf. 10:21; Deut. 10:17; Neh. 9:32). Everlasting Father. The Messiah will be a Father to His people eternally. As Davidic King, He will compassionately care for and discipline them (40:11; 63:16; 64:8; Pss. 68:5, 6; 103:13; Prov. 3:12). Prince of Peace. The government of Immanuel will procure and perpetuate peace among the nations of the world (2:4; 1116-9; Mic. 4:3).”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Isaiah 9:7, 8-10:4 ‘throne of David’: “The virgin’s Son will be the rightful heir to David’s throne and will inherit the promises of the Davidic covenant (2 Sam. 7:12-16; cf. Ps. 89:1-37; Matt. 1:1).
“This poem tells of great, warning calamities sent by the Lord that have gone unheeded by Israel. The same refrain recurs four times (9:12, 17, 21; 10:4), dividing it into four strophes.”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Isaiah 9:8-10:4 ‘God’s response to Ahaz’s lack of faith’: “While Isaiah’s vision of God’s royal Savior breaking into the present darkness is certain, the present darkness must first be dealt with. God must purge the sinful rebellion of his people.
“This section is punctuated by the fourfold occurrence of the sentence, ‘Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away, his hand is still upraised.’ It is an ominous refrain that leaves little doubt as to the Agent of the impending destruction.
“Because the northern kingdom rejected the earlier prophetic message, God would now bring judgment on them. From east and west the enemy has come, yet Israel has foolishly persisted in its pride. Thus God’s hand of judgment continues to be lifted up.
“The events of the preceding verses seem to reflect the historical situation of 732-725 B.C., i.e., the initial invasion of the northern kingdom. It is severely attacked but not completely destroyed. Samaria, the capital, is still standing. It is an appropriate time for repentance, but the people are unwilling to do so. Therefore God will cut off the leading (and now only) city of the country. Indeed, in 722, Samaria is completely destroyed. Because the wickedness has spread like fire over parched ground, so will the judgment.
“Isaiah returns to the woe sayings he began in ch. 5. This is not a misplaced woe saying, as is often suggested. Rather, the prophet brackets the Syro-Ephraimite crisis with woe sayings as if to say to his people Judah and Jerusalem, ‘If you will not listen to me, then at least learn from the devastation that has come to your fellow countrymen of the northern kingdom who were themselves destroyed because of their refusal to obey God.’ The message that God sent against Jacob (9:8) was a message to Judah. And the ominous phrase ‘His hand is still upraised’ (10:4) suggests that God did not let Israel escape; neither will he let Judah.
“Isaiah returns (10:1-4) to the theme of injustice and oppression that concerned him in ch. 5. The day of reckoning is drawing near, and there will be no place to hide.”

  • Eugene E. Carpenter, Asbury Bible Commentary


My Thoughts

Syria and Ephraim have allied with one another to defeat Judah.  Rezin of Aram is mentioned, but then Aram’s city is Damascus.  Thus, Syria and Ephraim had allied.  And Isaiah goes to the bad King Ahaz of Judah to say their alliance means nothing.  The key, however, in Isaiah’s assurance, is the statement that King Ahaz must stand in faith or he will not stand at all.

But King Ahaz has no faith in God.  He would rather seek mediums and spiritists (Isa 8).  He refuses to chose a sign from the true God.  So, Isaiah gives him the sign of the virgin birth.

I have recently heard several pastors discuss the reason why the birth of Jesus was a virgin birth.  The one that makes the most sense, maybe the only sense, was that the father was God the Father.  Another idea was that due to David’s sin, his father-to-son DNA would have no part in the child’s make-up.  I did not buy that explanation, but since King Ahaz was both a bad king, worshipping other gods, and he refused the sign, then the sign may have been God slapping the king across the face.  You, Ahaz, will not pass DNA to this child.

And I have had many discussions about when Jesus understood who He was.  It amazes me that well-meaning Christians could argue that Jesus did not always have that awareness.  Jesus always had the power given to Him by God, but He was not empowered to use it until His baptism and His Heavenly Father’s christening with the Holy Spirit coming upon HIm.  But I bring this up to provide a different interpretation than Rev. MacArthur of the child refusing evil and eating curds and honey.  Is it not possible that Jesus recognized good and evil and chose good from the very beginning, before He had ever eaten curds and honey?  Jesus was without sin, unequivocally, and I have seen some very selfish, tantrum-prone children.  Even the “angels” among the infants can be self-centered, and is that not putting yourself before God?  The second reference to curds and honey is speaking of famine and being subjected to the rule of other empires, but the first could easily be a first-century child’s initial taste of solid food.  I may be wrong, but I submit this idea for you to ponder.

Also part of this punishment when the people will eat curds and honey, there will be an abundance of thorns and briers and the people will be afraid of thorns and briers.

The odd prophecy with shades of Hosea says that a son will be born and before he can speak, Assyria will have taken over Judah.  As the Bible states, Ahaz allies with Assyria, basically becoming a puppet.

Ahaz is commanded to fear God and fear nothing else.  The warning is unheeded.  This is when it is stated that he consults mediums and spiritists.  I like Isaiah’s retort.  Why consult the dead when the living, the One True God, is alive and has the answers.  As Isaiah 8 concludes, without God there will be utter darkness.

Then, another prophecy regarding the Messiah in that Galilee will be honored, along the sea beyond the Jordan.  Jesus’ ministry and much of His miracles were along the shore towns of the Sea of Galilee.

Most of the early parts of Isaiah 9 show military victories (to be seen upon Christ’s return).  And the Son of the virgin will sit on David’s throne.

Some Serendipitous Reflections

“Isaiah 7: 1. What situation are you facing that frightens you now? What forces are involved? On a scale of 1-10, how trusting of God are you in that situation?
“2. What makes it difficult for you to trust God in such fearful times? When have you found that following your solution to a problem, rather than God’s, only made the problem worse?
“3. Ahaz masked his lack of trust in God with false humility. What examples have you seen of people covering up their sin with a veneer of virtue? When was the last time you did this?
“4. Since Ahaz was a bad king all along, what does it mean to you that God would still desire to give him a sign of his mercy? How does Ahaz’ refusal serve as a warning to you?
“5. Matthew 1:23 shows that Jesus fulfilled Isaiah 7:14 far more than any child in Ahaz‘ day could have. When facing a crisis, how have you seen Jesus as ‘Immanuel’ (God with us)?”
8:1-10, Assyria, the Lord’s Instrument: 1. How has the Lord been like a gently flowing stream to you? When has your choice of allies resulted in a flood of overwhelming trouble? When has the Lord stopped the flood of your wrong choices from overwhelming you?
“2. What ‘Rezin’s’ and ‘Rivers’ do people today flee from? Which ones affect you?

“Isaiah 8:11-21, Fear God: 1. What fears could motivate your agnostic friends to consider God: Job loss? Stock loss? Emotional blackout? Serious illness? If you have no agnostic friends, why is that?
“2. From watching your life this week, what would someone say it means for you to ‘fear’ God? What does it really mean to fear God?
“3. How is Jesus both a ‘sanctuary’ and a ‘stumbling block’ (v.14; see Ho 9:33; 1Pe 2:6-8)? Which is he to you right now?
“4. What does the rise of the ‘New Age Movement’ (occultism and spiritism) tell you about people’s spiritual hunger today? What would Isaiah say to those involved?
9:1-7, To Us a Child is Born: 1. How does the New Testament interpret what this prophecy means (see Mt 4:12-17; Lk 1:32; Jn 8:12)? Of the titles given in verse 6,which fit Jesus as you know him?
”2. What is the purpose of his reign in your life? In the world? What does it mean that there will be no end to the ‘increase and peace’ of his reign?
“3. How has he shattered some of the ‘yokes that burden’ you? What is one yoke that you desire to have him shatter now?
9:8-10:4, The Lord’s Anger Against Israel: 1. From this song, what attitudes and actions do you see are particularly offensive to God? Which ones do you feel are evident in your life‘? ln the life of your nation?
“2. God’s final judgment came only after many attempts to warn the people about the consequences of their deeds. What has God brought into your life recently as a warning of the consequences of where you were heading? How did you respond to those warnings?
“3. What signs do you see today that God still cleans house, beginning with his own people? How might allowing the effects of wickedness to grow actually serve as part of God’s judgment upon that evil (compare Ro 1:21-27)?
“4. What is one area of injustice or neglect of the poor in your community or nation that you could work on correcting: Tax reform? Housing? Health care? Race relations? Abuse victims? Or what? What keeps you from doing so?”

  • Lyman Coleman, et al, The NIV Serendipity Bible for Study Groups

There is one set of questions for Isaiah 7 and two sets of questions each for Isaiah 8 and 9 as stated above.

Substitute whatever group for any reference to a small group or ask who could come to your aid.

If you like these Thursday morning Bible studies, but you think you missed a few, you can use this LINK. I have set up a page off the home page for links to these Thursday morning posts. I will continue to modify the page as I add more.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

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