Isaiah 8 continues the subject of Isaiah 7. Isaiah was to record the name of his son, Maher-shalal-hash-baz, which means "swift to the booty, speedy to the prey." This was apparently cried out by warriors in ancient times as they defeated and plundered their enemies. This would reinforce the prophecy of the breakup of the alliance between Aram and Israel that Isaiah had prophesied about in Isaiah 7:4-17. The Assyrians would hasten to the spoils of Syria and Israel and eventually carry Israel into captivity (2 Kings 15:29).
The rest of Isaiah 8 uses three contrasts to show Judah that they were making a mistake by trusting in Assyria instead of the Lord:
They chose a . . .
- flood instead of gently flowing waters (8:5-10)
- snare instead of a sanctuary (8:11-15)
- darkness instead of light (8:16-22)
The people turned to demons instead of God in this time (Isaiah 8:19; Deut. 18:10-12) which led them into greater darkness and decline. Yet, into this utter darkness (8:22), a light will dawn (9:2).
The Scarlet Thread of Redemption
I love Isaiah 9 because it is the dawn after the darkness! It is the promise of the Messiah (Matthew 4:13-16) who will come from "Galilee of the Gentiles" (9:1).
Jesus is the light in a dark world (Luke 1:78-79; John 1:9; 8:12)!
But the prophet looked beyond the first coming of Christ to His second coming and the establishing of His righteous kingdom (Isa. 9:3–7). Instead of protecting a small remnant, God would enlarge the nation. Instead of experiencing sorrow, the people would rejoice like reapers after a great harvest, soldiers after a great victory (see Jud. 6–7), or prisoners of war after being released from their yoke of bondage. Of course, some of this occurred when God defeated Assyria and delivered Jerusalem (Isa. 37). But the ultimate fulfillment is still future; all military material will be destroyed (9:5) because the nations will not learn war any more (2:4).
Isaiah 9:6 declares both the humanity (“A Child is born”) and the deity (“A Son is given”) of the Lord Jesus Christ. The prophet then leaps ahead to the Kingdom Age when Messiah will reign in righteousness and justice from David’s throne. God had promised David that his dynasty and throne would be established forever (2 Sam. 7:16); and this is fulfilled literally in Jesus Christ (Luke 1:32–33; Zech. 9:9), who will one day reign from Jerusalem (Isa. 11:1–5; Jer. 23:5–8; 30:8–10). This kingdom is called “the Millennium,” which means “one thousand years.”
If His name is “Wonderful,” then there will be nothing dull about His reign! As Counselor, He has the wisdom to rule justly; and as the Mighty God, He has the power to execute His wise plans. “Everlasting Father” does not suggest that the Son is also the Father, for each Person in the Godhead is distinct. “Father of Eternity” is a better translation. Among the Jews, the word “father” means “originator” or “source.” For example, Satan is the “father [originator] of lies” (John 8:44, NIV). If you want anything eternal, you must get it from Jesus Christ; He is the “Father of eternity.”
Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). Be Comforted. “Be” Commentary Series (36–37). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
Isaiah 9:8-10:4 describes what will happen to the northern kingdom of Israel when the Assyrians invade. We must remember that Isaiah's primary message is for the southern kingdom of Judah, but he often uses Israel as an object lesson as a way of warning. Judah has sinned, but God has spared them for David's sake (37:35; 1 Kings 11:13; 15:4; 2 Chronicles 21:7). Notice that God says, "In spite of all this, His anger does not turn away, and His hand is still stretched out" several times (9:12, 17, 21, 10:4) because of their pride and hardness of heart.
Praise God that His just wrath has been averted because of the propitiating blood of Jesus Christ who died for our sins! He rose so that we do not have to walk in darkness but in the light of new life, aided by the indwelling Holy Spirit!
Isaiah 9 is part of some key songs in Handel's Messiah. We will be going through Handel's Messiah little by little at the end of YEAR THREE of the Bible Book Club in order to review what we have learned (35 out of the 53 musical movements are Old Testament scriptures!). If you want to jump to it for a Christmas devotional this year, you can find it here or download an electronic document.
If you do not already have this oratorio, it will be a great addition to your Christmas music. When you finish the Bible Book Club cycle, you will have a much deeper appreciation of the Scripture in this God-inspired oratorio!
As a result of meditating on these verses today, I have been listening to Isaiah 9:2 and 6 in Messiah, and I danced all over the living room (my family is at the library, but they are used to me dancing)!
Here is my favorite version of it at a VERY cheap price:
Handel's Messiah: The Complete Work
Praise God through Isaiah 9:2-7!!