King Ahaz has refused God’s help, even though all the land is afraid of what is to come. He turns to Assyria instead. When Assyria comes, they will NOT be the deliverer Ahaz is hoping for.
In our previous reading, Isaiah delivers God’s promise of a sign and a warning of what the outcome will be with King Ahaz’s plan. Ahaz is not swayed. He is going ahead with it anyway. God tells Isaiah to make a witness of this prophecy instead. One that will be verified by two others of great importance in Judah.
God gives Isaiah a name to inscribe on a tablet; Maher-shalal-hash-baz. This name is important. It means “The spoil speeds, the prey hastens.” This tablet is to be the ‘property’ of the one bearing this name. Uriah and Zechariah witness this inscription once it is made. They are probably all thinking, “Who is this person and what parent would give their child such a name?” Who indeed!
I don’t know how far we jump ahead in time between the inscription and when Isaiah fathers a child with the “prophetess” but I’m sure it wasn’t instantaneous. It would take at least a month and a half for her to realize she was pregnant, unless God told her immediately.
Our expectant father is given a name for his child. The very name he inscribed on the tablet a while ago. And with that name comes another promise. “Before the boy knows how to cry ‘My father’ or ‘My mother,’ the wealth of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria will be carried away before the king of Assyria” (verse 4).
I’m estimating this timeframe to be between two and three years. Nine months for pregnancy and a year or two for the child to develop his language skills. That probably sounded really good to King Ahaz. In just a couple of years, Ephraim and Samaria would be conquered by Assyria. Ahaz is probably thinking it is a good thing he allied himself with Assyria; but wait. There’s more.
Assyria isn’t gong to be satisfied with conquering two kingdoms. They will want more, as any conqueror would. If King Ahaz would have trusted in the Lord instead of bringing Assyria into this conflict, GOD would have seen to Judah’s protection. Now that Assyria is involved, there is no stopping them from grabbing all they can get.
Remember how I said that names were important. God uses another important name to drive a point home to King Ahaz through Isaiah. God chooses the name of an important city; Shiloah. Shiloah was the city where the Tabernacle came to rest once the people of Israel had taken the land. This is the place that God’s Ark rested before it was lost to the Philistines. This was the place God chose for His people to meet with Him BEFORE they demanded a king. The place where God’s presence flowed over His people and protected them. The SAME presence that would have given Judah victory over “Rezin and the son of Remaliah.”
No. Judah didn’t want God’s help; or at least King Ahaz, Judah’s king, didn’t. Instead, he wanted Assyria’s help. God told Ahaz that HE would give Assyria victory but it would come with a price. Judah would be ‘neck deep’ under Assyria too. The land of Immanuel would be under the Assyrian rule and no longer be a nation unto itself.
Yet, there is STILL hope! There will come a time of breaking of this yoke. A time when “God is with us” again. No nation or group of nations will be able to stand against God’s people in that time. God does NOT give up on His children; either Jew or Gentile.
The problem comes when we give up on trusting Him. When we try and do it “MY way” things don’t turn out like we thought they would. And sometimes the road back is REALLY rough.
Father God, I KNOW I’ve wandered off on my own paths more that a few times. I thought I knew how to deal with what was going on in my world. And I’ve made messes for myself in the process. Help me right the ones I’ve made in ignorance. Forgive me for the ones I made in ‘independence’. I’m NOT independent! I’m Your child and what I do makes a difference to You. I want Your light to shine through my life at all times and that can only happen when I’m walking with You. I want to be where You are!