Monday, July 7, 2014

Isaiah 8: The Flood (Part 2 of 4)

Isaiah 8: The Flood (Part 2 of 4)

The LORD compares the Assyrian invasion to a mighty river that will sweep over the land, including Judah. The armies of Syria and Israel will be shattered, bringing their dream of domination to nothing.

The people "refused the waters of Shiloah that flow gently."

The Shiloah (Shelah or Siloam) ran through Jerusalem's royal garden (Nehemiah 3:15), forming pools used often for healing (John 9:7-11).

"This people" refused the gentle stream of the LORD and sought happiness in Rezin and the son of Remaliah (the king of Syria and the king of Israel). "This people" referred to both Israel and Judah. Israel preferred an alliance with Syria, and Judah sought alliance with Assyria (2 Kings 16:7).

The LORD promised judgement of "this people", using the Assyrian army as his instrument of wrath. He compared Assyria to "the River":

As the Euphrates River floods its banks in the spring by melting of the snow in the Armenian mountains, so the Assyrian army would sweep over all the land, reaching even to the "neck" of Judah.

When the waters reach to the neck, a man is near drowning; still the head is not said to be overflowed. Jerusalem, elevated on hills, was the head. The danger would be so imminent as to reach near it, but it would be spared (Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary).

What do you think?


The land over which Assyria will flood belong belonged to Immanuel:

Isaiah 8:8 (ESV) Its outspread wings will fill the breadth of your land, O Immanuel.

This reference to Isaiah's child must have seemed bewildering. How could the land belong to a son of Isaiah? The prophecy suggests eventual deliverance and restoration through the power of God, but how?

The answer would wait for centuries.

Matthew 1:20-23 (ESV) Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins. All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel (which means, God with us).

The faithful Jews clung to the promise symbolized by the name given to Isaiah's son. Centuries later they saw in Jesus glimpses of his divine power and they associated his name with the promised savior of Israel:

Acts 1:6 (ESV) So when they had come together, they asked him, Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?

Because God's hand was behind the Assyrian invasion, because "God is with us", the flood that would sweep over the land would accomplish his purposes: destroy the rebellious plans of his enemies and bring his people to their knees in broken, shattered dependence upon him.

What do you think?

photo credit: Adrian Kingsley-Hughes via photopin cc