In Isaiah chapter 7, God sent Isaiah to King Ahaz. King Ahaz was the king ruling for the House of David at the time. Ahaz had made an alliance with Assyria who was a foreign enemy. God’s people were shaking hands with a worldly power. Why?
Ahaz did this because he was trusting in Assyria for his security and the security of his people. They were trusting in this worldly power for security, peace, and comfort in an uncertain, unstable time in their lives. Why was it unstable and why did they need that?
They were afraid. They were afraid of Syria and Ephraim. They were afraid they would be attacked by other nations and enemies. They were operating out of fear and from a mindset that says, “My enemy’s enemy is my friend,” right? Problem is, they were not trusting in God. They were trusting in man. This nation was powerful and they felt protected by it.
So, God sent Isaiah the prophet to prophesy to King Ahaz.
And the Lord said to Isaiah,. “Go out to meet Ahaz, you and Shear-jashub your son, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool on the highway to the Washer’s Field. 4 And say to him, ‘Be careful, be quiet, do not fear, and do not let your heart be faint because of these two smoldering stumps of firebrands, at the fierce anger of Rezin and Syria and the son of Remaliah.” ~Isaiah 7:3-4
So, God is saying to Isaiah, go to Ahaz. Tell him not to worry. I’m about to destroy the ones you fear. He ends with, “If you are not firm in faith, you will not be firm at all.”
Judgement was coming, not just for Ahaz’s enemies, but for God’s people as well. Judgement was coming because the people of God refused his provision, his ways, and instead chose to trust a worldly enemy.
The Lord spoke to me again: 6 “Because this people has refused the waters of Shiloah that flow gently, and rejoice over Rezin and the son of Remaliah, 7 therefore, behold, the Lord is bringing up against them the waters of the River, mighty and many, the king of Assyria and all his glory. And it will rise over all its channels and go over all its banks,8 and it will sweep on into Judah, it will overflow and pass on, reaching even to the neck, and its outspread wings will fill the breadth of your land, O Immanuel.” Isaiah 8:5-8
These people do not trust God. Plain and simple, they just don’t. Therefore, God sends Isaiah to state the obvious. He tells them they don’t trust God, that they’ve refused his soft and easy stream and that because of that, rushing, powerful waters will come over them. This was the judgement.
Assyria would come and cause great destruction. They very people and power they trusted in place of God were going to be the instruments God would use to judge and discipline them.
God instructed Isaiah – his prophet – not to follow suit; not to conform; not to go the way of everyone around him. In fact, God chose him to tell them why they should not conform either.
“For the Lord spoke thus to me with his strong hand upon me, and warned me not to walk in the way of this people, saying: 12 “Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread. 13 But the Lord of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.” Isaiah 8:11-13
Matthew Henry notes, “Do not join with those that, for the securing of themselves, are for making a league with the Assyrians, through unbelief, and distrust of God and their cause. Do not come into any such confederacy. Not, it concerns us, in time of trouble, to watch against all such fears as put us upon taking any indirect courses for our own security.”
These guys were mad at Isaiah for telling them the truth. They considered him a traitor because he told them how wrong they were for trusting in Assyria (men) rather than God. So, Isaiah says something like this, “God specifically told me not to follow the crowd, not to buy in to this conspiracy mindset, and not to fear. He told me to tell you that I have to fear him alone.”
” I will wait for the Lord, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob, and I will hope in him.” Isaiah 8:17
Unfortunately, instead of profiting from the prophet’s words from God, they are offended by them.
If God’s words, instructions, and ways offend us, we become an offense to him – especially if we’re following the crowd and trusting in men rather than God. Judgement comes in those times.
Like God told Isaiah to tell Ahaz and when he called him individually to be a bad news bearing nonconformist, “If you are not firm in your faith, you will not be firm at all.” The same is true for us. Amen and amen.