Bad Times Are Coming! Trust God Anyway
1 Then the Lord said to me, "Take for yourself a large tablet and write on it in ordinary letters: 'Swift is the booty, speedy is the prey'. 2 "And I will take to Myself faithful witnesses for testimony, Uriah the priest and Zechariah the son of Jeberechiah." 3 So I approached the prophetess, and she conceived and gave birth to a son. Then the Lord said to me, "Name him Maher-shalal-hash-baz; 4 for before the boy knows how to cry out' My father' or' My mother,' the wealth of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria will be carried away before the king of Assyria."
(Maher-shalal-hash-baz - Swift is the Booty, Speedy is the Prey)
Booty – plunder or spoil
The boy had always been called Speedy. That's how all the kids knew him. Then he started school and the teacher read out his full name in front of the whole class: “Swift Booty Speedy Prey” Weisenthal. Can't you hear the conversation when the boy comes home from that first day of Hebrew school? “Mom, why did you let Dad give this name? Did you even try to talk him out of it? Everybody teases me about my name. The teacher couldn't even pronouce it. She asked if that really was my name. The whole class was laughing. Would you please ask Dad if he will change my name?”
When he goes to bed that night he prays: “Dear God, I know you love me, but why did You make Dad give me that name? Could you please let the Assyrians invade tonight so I won't have to go back to school and face all those kids?”
I have heard PKs (Preacher's Kids) complain about being used as illustrations in their Dad's sermons. Can you imagine how this kid felt? He was a constant reminder to the people in Jerusalem of the message from God. The destruction of their ememies was coming. And theirs was not far behind.
Pick up in verse 5:
5 And again the Lord spoke to me further, saying,
6 "Inasmuch as these people have rejected the gently flowing waters of Shiloah, And rejoice in Rezin and the son of Remaliah; 7 "Now therefore, behold, the Lord is about to bring on them the strong and abundant waters of the Euphrates, Even the king of Assyria and all his glory; And it will rise up over all its channels and go over all its banks. 8 "Then it will sweep on into Judah, it will overflow and pass through, It will reach even to the neck; And the spread of its wings will fill the breadth of your land, O Immanuel. 9 "Be broken, O peoples, and be shattered; And give ear, all remote places of the earth. Gird yourselves, yet be shattered; Gird yourselves, yet be shattered. 10 "Devise a plan but it will be thwarted; State a proposal, but it will not stand, For God is with us."
God is with us. Once again a child's name is used to remind the people of Israel about the plan of God and what was going to happen. Immanuel was the child's name in this instance. And Isaiah, or rather God, was using this child's name to remind them of what was in store for their enemies. Assyria would indeed defeat Syria and Samaria, but they would also come on into Judah. He said “It will sweep on into Judah, it will overflow and pass through, it will reach even to the neck.
God stopped Assyria. They indeed conquered both the northern and southern kingdoms, except for Jerusalem. God stopped them, just like it was a flood that over took all the land, but Jerusalem was saved by the skin of their teeth. God was with them and it came about just as He predicted it would.
11 For thus the Lord spoke to me with mighty power and instructed me not to walk in the way of this people, saying,
12 "You are not to say, 'It is a conspiracy!' In regard to all that this people call a conspiracy, And you are not to fear what they fear or be in dread of it. 13 "It is the Lord of hosts whom you should regard as holy. And He shall be your fear, And He shall be your dread. 14 "Then He shall become a sanctuary;
But to both the houses of Israel, a stone to strike and a rock to stumble over, And a snare and a trap for the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 15 "And many will stumble over them, Then they will fall and be broken;
They will even be snared and caught."
Here is another passage in Isaiah's messages that will be used hundreds of years later. This passage about a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense was used in the New Testament to prove that Jesus was the fulfillment of prophecy. Jesus himself used this passage to tell the people in Israel in His day that they needed to listen to God and not to the rumors and falsehoods that they told one another to support themselves and convince themselves that they were right. Jesus said they tripped up and fell because of the lies. He said that He was the rock of offense, the stone that caused them to fall.
Whenever we live, we must put our trust in God and not in the ideas of society around us. We must live with God at the center of our lives. He must be Lord if we are to be victorious. There is only one Way and that Way is Jesus.
16 Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples. 17 And I will wait for the Lord who is hiding His face from the house of Jacob; I will even look eagerly for Him. 18 Behold, I and the children whom the Lord has given me are for signs and wonders in Israel from the Lord of hosts, who dwells on Mount Zion.
19 And when they say to you, "Consult the mediums and the spiritists who whisper and mutter, should not a people consult their God?” Should they consult the dead on behalf of the living? 20 To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn. 21 And they will pass through the land hard-pressed and famished, and it will turn out that when they are hungry, they will be enraged and curse their king and their God as they face upward. 22 Then they will look to the earth, and behold, distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish; and they will be driven away into darkness. NASB
Living by the truth of God is the only way to have eternal. It is as we are living in relationship with God that we can know and live out the truth. Consulting the dead on behalf of the living has never worked.
God has always had a people. People who put their trust in Him and not in the fables and lies of the society in which they live. The only way to live a fulfilled life is to put your trust in God.
He loves us. He is Lord.
What are you living for? What do you pray for? What are your hopes and dreams for your life?
Are you centered in the Lord? Are you believing that He loves you? Have you accepted and are you living as if it is a good thing to be led and directed by the Word of God and His Holy Spirit?
There are two parts to the message God gives to His prophets. The first part is to call people back to God, to tell them the truth about who God is and what He expects of people. We might call this aspect of prophecy forth-telling.
The second part is to fore-tell what is coming in the future.
Back in the book of Genesis, when God dealt with the first man and woman, He set the pattern for his relationship with each one of us. He told them what to do to live in relationship with Him. Do what I tell you and you will live. Fail to do what I tell you and you will die. Even in this we see the two-fold purpose of God. Honor and obey Him, trust Him and His life will flow through your life. Refuse to trust Him and love Him, and the Spirit that gives you life is cut off. The only thing that can follow is judgement.
But, God went looking for them.
But, God found them hiding in the bushes.
But, God found them in the bushes and He called them to come out and be restored to a relationship with Him.
But, God planned from before the creation for this eventuality. He planned to come down and to die to make it possible for us to be restored to the proper relationship with Him.
That proper relationship can be summed up in this: Love Him. Trust Him. Obey Him because it is a good thing for Him to be the Lord of your life. Seek Him and He will be found. He loves you and He makes it possible for you to love Him.
A life of love for God and love for people is the only life we can have that will see us through to our eternal home with God.
God loves me and He is my Lord.
This was the message of the prophet Isaiah. His message to Israel was good for king Ahaz. It was also good for the Scribes and Pharisees in Jesus' day. It is good for us today.
Trust God. Seek Him and He will be found. He will be with you through all the circumstances of this life and through all of eternity.
Refuse to trust Him and life is less than it should be. Hope will be shattered and every circumstance of life will be hell for you. Without Him there is no hope for eternity. Without Him in our lives we are less than we were created for.
With Him, we have hope for the future. We are as Paul said in Romans 8:35-39:
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 Just as it is written,
'For Thy sake we are being put to death all day long; We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.'
37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” NASB
Their enemies were surrounding Israel and God's prophet, Isaiah, was calling for them to trust Him. That is God's call to you today. Bad Times Are Coming! Trust God Anyway! Will you put your trust in God? Believe that He loves you and believe that it is a good thing that He is Lord.