The Book of Isaiah
KING AHAZ AND THE ASSYRIAN INVASION
Text: ISAIAH 7:15-17
1. We have been studying the book of Isaiah and we have seen that King Ahaz, the king of Judah was in a very dangerous predicament.
2. The king of Israel and the king of Syria had joined themselves against Judah.
3. Syria and Israel had come up against the walls of Jerusalem, intending to raze them to the ground and utterly destroy the kingdom of Judah (Isa. 7:1, 2).
4. King Ahaz was in great trouble, but rather than look to the Lord for help, he turned to the heathen king of Assyria.
5. Let me give you an interesting quotation from Ironside’s commentary on this portion of Scripture. “Instinctively in times of stress and danger men think of confederacies and associations of some kind as the best means of preserving the traditions and conditions which they hold dear. It was so in Judah. It is so in Christendom today. So we have various associations and federations of individuals and of churches which it is hoped will prove to be bulwarks against the onrushing tide of evil. But again and again it has been demonstrated that all such confederacies tend to deteriorate as time goes by, and afterward the children of those who formed these associations revert to the evils against which their fathers protested. The only real recourse in a day of evil is to cleave to the Lord Himself with purpose of heart” (cf. Isa. 7:13).
6. The prophet Isaiah warned King Ahaz that Assyria would soon become Judah’s enemy, not their friend. The Assyrians would invade Judah and ravage the land.
7. Their rich farmland would become wasteland – “briers and thorns” (7:23-25). This would be the judgment of God because of Ahaz’s unbelief (cf. Isa. 7:20).
8. These terrible judgments could have been avoided had King Ahaz trusted the Lord.
9. These conflicts with Assyria and the other nations continue into Chapter 8. Though Ahaz was a wicked king, and though Judah was a backslidden nation, God graciously looked out for them.
10. In Isaiah 7, the Lord (through the prophet Isaiah) told King Ahaz that Israel and Syria would not succeed (cf. 7:4-7). In chapter 8, the Lord told King Ahaz (again, through the prophet Isaiah) that God would deliver Judah from Assyria as well (cf. 8:10).
11. This present deliverance was a precursor of the future Deliverer – Immanuel – “God with us” (8:10b; cf. 7:14; 9:6, 7).
12. Tonight we will look at several ways in which God looked out for His people.
I. GOD GAVE THEM HIS WORD (8:1-4)
1. The phrase, “And God said” or “The word of the Lord came” or “Thus saith the Lord” or similar expressions are found over 4,000 times in the Bible.
2. The Lord told Isaiah to write down the Word of God. Second Peter 1:21 says, “holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
3. The Bible is the inspired Word of God. Second Timothy 3:16, 17 says, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”
4. This message from the Lord concerned Maher-shal-hash-baz, the son of Isaiah (8:1-3). His name means, “Haste ye, haste ye to the spoil” (Scofield margin) or “Quick to plunder, swift to the spoil.”
5. This son should not be confused with “Immanuel” (7:14), the Lord Jesus Christ.
6. Isaiah’s sons were signs to the people of Judah (8:18). Names in the Bible, especially in the OT, are very significant. This son’s name warns of a future judgment when Assyria would conquer Syria, and then invade both Israel and Judah.
7. Furthermore, Judah would be conquered by the Chaldeans and taken into exile.
8. Isaiah’s older son was named Shear-jashub, which means, “A remnant shall return” (margin).
9. Isaiah means “Salvation of the LORD” or “The LORD saves.”
10. Uriah (8:2) means “Light of the LORD” or “The LORD is my Light.” Zechariah means “The LORD remembers.”
11. Jeberechia means “Whom the LORD blesses.”
12. Isaiah’s wife is referred to as “the prophetess” (8:3). Their son is Maher-shalal-hash-baz (“Haste ye, haste ye to the spoil”).
13. Isaiah’s message: Before his son Maher-shalal-hash-baz has “knowledge to cry, My father, and my mother” (probably two years), the Assyrian army will invade Syria and Samaria (8:4).
14. Within two years, King Ahaz’s enemies, Rezin (king of Syria)and Pekah (king of Israel), were both dead, and the king of Assyria had invaded Israel. His army was “quick to plunder and swift to take the spoil.”
15. Therefore, King Ahaz did not have to worry about any trouble from Syria and Samaria (cf. 7:1-9).
II. GOD PROTECTED AND GUIDED THEM
1. The “waters of Shiloh that go softly” (8:5, 6) represent the peace and tranquility that only God can provide. But the LORD said they “refused” that water.
2. Therefore, the LORD would send the strong, raging Euphrates River, symbolizing the king of Assyria (8:7, 8).
3. Sinners refuse the gentle, peaceful waters that the Lord provides, and so God allows them to be caught up in the floodwaters of sin and confusion.
4. Throughout the Bible, we see over and over again that God uses nations and their rulers and armies as the instruments of His wrath. In this case it was Assyria (cf. Isaiah 10:5, 6).
5. The Lord refers to the land of Judah as Immanuel’s land (8:8), reminding them that the Messiah (Immanuel – 7:14) would come through the house and lineage of King David.
6. And it is because it is Immanuel’s land that God would protect them, even though they deserved judgment (8:9, 10; cf. 41:10).
7. King Ahaz and the people of Judah were not to be alarmed by the confederacy of Syria and Samaria (8:11, 12).
8. Rather than fear the heathen nations, they were to fear God (8:13, 14). I think we can easily apply this to our day. We fear the terrorists (and we should for they are dangerous) but it is far more important that we should fear God.
9. It was the great Oliver Cromwell who said, “I have learned that when you fear God, you have no man to fear.”
10. This is the true meaning of being “God-fearing.” “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge” (Pro. 1:7).
11. “Sanctify the LORD of hosts Himself…” (Isa. 8:13). This means we are to give the Lord absolute control over every activity in our life. We do not want to displease the Lord.
III. GOD GAVE THEM SIGNS & WONDERS (8:18)
1. I want to stress that these were God’s “signs and wonders,” because many so-called “signs and wonders” are not from God.
2. We see this very vividly in Moses and Aaron’s visit with Pharaoh (Exodus 7:10-12).
3. The Bible teaches that some signs and wonders are from the devil (cf. Matt. 24:24; II Thess. 2:8-12; Rev. 13:11-14).
4. Isaiah 8:19 and 20 refer to occultism. There is a resurgence of spiritualism, witchcraft, fortune-telling, and other demonic activity today. God’s word forbids it (cf. Lev. 19:31; 20:6, 27; Deut. 18:9-12).
5. Rock music and rap music is drenched in occultism and many of these performers are demon-possessed.
6. Nothing good can come out of ouija boards, horoscopes, crystal balls, palm-reading, etc. Nothing but trouble, anguish, and darkness (cf. Isa. 8:20-22).
1. We need to walk in the light – the Gospel light. Most people are in darkness (Isa. 8:20).
2. Psalm 119:105 says, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”
3. Our Lord said in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”
4. Are you walking in the light or are you in darkness?