Isaiah - Lesson 4

Trust - The Basis of Servanthood

In this lesson, you delve further into the concept of servanthood and its basis in trust, particularly within the biblical context. You start by understanding the definition and importance of servanthood in biblical teachings. Then, you explore the profound relationship between trust and servanthood, with trust being a prerequisite to becoming a servant. This interconnection is exemplified through the life and ministry of Isaiah, known for his prophecies and servant-like approach to his duties. The lesson concludes with the modern-day applications and implications of trust-based servanthood, providing a broader understanding of how this concept impacts Christian life.

Lesson 4
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Trust - The Basis of Servanthood

I. Introduction to Servanthood

A. Definition of Servanthood

B. Importance of Servanthood in Biblical Context

II. Trust as the Basis of Servanthood

A. Understanding Trust in a Biblical Perspective

B. Relationship between Trust and Servanthood

1. Trust as a Prerequisite to Servanthood

2. Development of Trust in a Servant’s Life

III. Isaiah's Demonstration of Trust and Servanthood

A. Isaiah's Life and Ministry

B. Instances of Trust and Servanthood in Isaiah's Prophecies

IV. Application and Implications of Trust-Based Servanthood

A. Modern Applications of Trust-Based Servanthood

B. Impact of Trust-Based Servanthood on Christian Life

  • Through the in-depth study of Isaiah, you'll gain understanding of its purpose, authorship, key themes, structure, and its significant contributions to the Old Testament, shaping your comprehension of prophetic literature.
  • In studying this lesson, you gain an understanding of the concept of servanthood in the Book of Isaiah, exploring its societal, literary, theological, and personal implications.
  • In the lesson, you explore Isaiah's divine vision, understand his servanthood in a biblical and cultural context, and reflect on its contemporary relevance and implications for today's believers.
  • By exploring trust as the basis of servanthood in this lesson, you gain a deeper understanding of biblical teachings, the role of Isaiah, and the practical implications for modern Christian life.
  • You will gain knowledge and insight into the significance of trusting Yahweh, the invisible God, in difficult times and the consequences of relying on human conspiracies and seeking guidance from mediums. By choosing to trust God and follow His light, you will find hope, experience His strength, wisdom, and peace.
  • This lesson, spanning chapters 13 to 35, delves into various aspects such as oracles against the nations, God's rule of history, Judah's situation, and the repercussions of placing trust in the nations.
  • In this lesson, you learn about trusting in God even in the midst of chaos and to not rely on worldly powers. By waiting expectantly and trusting in God's sovereignty, you can find peace and security amidst a turbulent world.
  • The lesson offers deep insights into trust from a biblical perspective, drawing on case studies from Isaiah and giving you practical applications for contemporary Christianity.
  • Through this lesson, you will gain insight into the message of trust in Yahweh presented in Isaiah chapters 13 through 35, emphasizing the contrast between human power and God's sovereignty and discussing the ultimate victory of God in eschatological literature.
  • This lesson highlights the theological impact of the exile and the questions it raises about God's promises and His power. It explores the issue of trust and warns against relying on worldly solutions, using the example of seeking help from Egypt. Isaiah challenges the people to wait for the Lord and defines trust as confident expectation.
  • In this lesson, the consequences of trusting in worldly powers like Egypt and Assyria are emphasized, highlighting their limitations compared to God's power. The lesson stresses the need for repentance, rest, and trust in God for salvation and strength. It calls for addressing the present condition of the people and the land rather than being complacent. The promise of the pouring out of the Holy Spirit is mentioned, which will lead to transformation and the establishment of peace.
  • This lesson introduces Hezekiah, son of Ahaz, and his dire dilemma on whom to trust—God or humanity—in a situation rife with political and personal peril. By examining Hezekiah's predicament, you will grapple with the notion that trust is the foundation of servanthood to God. The concepts of power, authority, and faith are analyzed through the lens of Hezekiah's interactions with Sennacherib, the king of Assyria. Ultimately, this lesson presents a thought-provoking exploration of trust in divine power versus human power, faith in the midst of desperation, and the implications of such trust for leadership and servanthood.
  • You will delve into the unique prophetic style of Isaiah, understanding his future-oriented prophecies, and the challenges brought by the exiles. You will explore predictive prophecy and how God's transcendence enables accurate predictions. Further, you'll examine the book of Isaiah's authorship, its implications, and the context of Assyrian-Babylonian transition.
  • In this lesson, you will learn about the themes of grace, servitude, and the promise of God's deliverance in chapters 40 to 55. You will understand the meaning behind the denunciation of idols and God's sovereignty, in addition to the assurance that even amidst fear, God is present and will aid His people.
  • This lesson analyzes the role of a witness, God's omnipotence and His role as the sole deity, His promise of deliverance and transformation, and the continuity of faith across generations through His spirit. The key message of this lesson is that God is the Creator and Savior, the only true God, and our role as His witnesses is to testify to His reality and His power in our lives and in the world around us.
  • In this lesson, you grasp the profound concept of God's grace, witnessing how He reclaims His chosen despite their sins. You delve into the biblical view of cause and effect, discovering God's principles at work. Moreover, you gain insights into the suffering servant, embodying true Israel, fulfilling what Israel couldn't. This figure vividly portrays divine calling, struggle, and unwavering trust in God. The lesson ends by revealing the promised restoration of Israel, instilling hope in God's unwavering promises.
  • Through this lesson, you will gain knowledge and insight into the concept of grace, the anticipation of God's saving work, the revelation of His victory, and the transformative power of Jesus' servant hood.
  • Through this lesson, you'll explore the significant role of justice, righteousness, and servanthood in the Book of Isaiah, showcasing the transformative power of God's grace in redeeming and restoring His people.
  • In this lesson, you journey through spiritual growth, witnessing human virtues and flaws, Israel's struggles, and divine grace. The Divine Warrior transforms God's people into beacons, illuminating God's glory. Finally, the Warrior, as the Messiah, brings comfort, freedom, and beauty amid sorrow.
  • This lesson provides a detailed exploration of the struggles of God's people, their plea for God's intervention, and their accusation towards God for their hardships. It calls upon you to reflect on the human condition and our inherent need for divine intervention. Lastly, the lesson underscores the importance of a relationship with God, not merely seeking righteousness but seeking Him and His presence in one's life.

Diving into this course by Dr. John Oswalt, you will find yourself immersed in the study of the Book of Isaiah, particularly focusing on its purpose, authorship, major themes, structure, historical context, author, and time of writing. The major themes like redemption, restoration, and the holiness of God will be unraveled, along with an examination of the book's literary style and chapter breakdown. Additionally, you will gain insights into the concept of servanthood within the context of ancient Israel, exploring its historical, literary, and theological perspectives. Isaiah's vision and his divine calling to servanthood will be thoroughly discussed, revealing the challenges he faced in his role and the contemporary relevance of his servanthood. You will delve into the relationship between trust and servanthood, with trust being a prerequisite to becoming a servant, as demonstrated by Isaiah. The class culminates in providing you with the knowledge of the transformative potential of trust, its importance in the biblical narrative, and its role as a cornerstone for faith and community development. Lastly, you will understand the message of trust in Yahweh presented in Isaiah, learn about the contrast between trusting in human power and glory versus living by faith, and gain an understanding of the importance of trust and the dangers of relying on worldly solutions.

Recommended Books

The Holy One of Israel: Studies in the Book of Isaiah

The Holy One of Israel: Studies in the Book of Isaiah

Growing out of the work that the author did in preparing two major commentaries on Isaiah, these essays range from comprehensive to specific, and from popular to scholarly....

The Holy One of Israel: Studies in the Book of Isaiah

Dr. John Oswalt



Trust - The Basis of Servanthood

Lesson Transcript

In the previous lectures, we looked at the first division of the book, chapters one to five, and then what I think of as the second division, single chapter, chapter six. Many commentators would include chapter six with chapter seven to 12, and they would call it the Isaiah Memoir saying that, "Here's a little slice of Isaiah's personal history beginning with chapter six and then leading on into seven." Well, there's some truth to that, but as I tried to say, I think six is intended to be much more pivotal in the structure of the book than merely the opening to chapters six to 12. In fact, I believe that chapters seven to 39 are a unit. I call it Trust, the Basis of Servanthood.

In this section, seven through 39, there are three subdivisions. The first one is chapters seven to 12, the second, chapters 13 to 35, and the third, chapters 36 to 39. As I suggested in the introductory lecture, I strongly object to the idea of chapters 36 to 39 being a historical appendix. I don't believe that's the case at all. It is a bookend with chapters seven to 12. Chapters seven to 12 explore the absence of trust, beginning with the refusal of King Ahaz to trust in God. 36 to 39 then is exploring the presence of trust and what that means. So the three subdivisions here, seven to 12, 13 to 35, and 36 to 39 all work together as a single unit being enveloped on the beginning and the end with no trust, and then what I would label 36 to nine as trust! Yes, but...? And we'll talk about that when we get to that section of the book.

When we look at the situation that is being addressed in chapter seven and following, we see that the Assyrian threat has become much, much more dangerous. I mentioned in an earlier lecture that between about 785 and 745 BC Assyria was somewhat quiescent, not as aggressive as they had been previously, but all that changed with a vengeance in 745, a new emperor came to the throne, a man for whom we don't name our children anymore. Tiglath-Pileser III. The Bible also calls him Pul P-U-L, which may have been his personal name, and Tiglath-Pileser III may have been his throne name. But whatever his name, he inaugurated a century of extreme Assyrian aggression. His reign was about 15 years beginning in 745, and he immediately put the Assyrian armies on the road headed west and then southwest toward Egypt, as I said, headed toward that ultimate prize of the great Egyptian riches and culture. The little countries that stood in the way of him then were all under threat.

When I say the little countries, what am I referring to? Well, again, if we can look at our imaginary map here immediately between Assyria and the coastline was Aram, A-R-A-M or modern Syria with its capital at Damascus to the northwest was Phoenicia or Tyre and Sidon Really, then to the immediate south of Damascus was Amman on the east side of the Jordan River, south of Amon was Moab. On the west side of the Jordan River was Israel, south of Israel, Judah, south of Judah, Edom, and then to the southwest on the coast were the Philistines. So I think if I've got my numbers correct, eight small countries all standing in the way of this one mighty juggernaut aimed right at them and through which it would have to go if it was to reach its ultimate goal.

The only possible way to defeat Assyria or better at least block it, was to form coalitions. That had happened a century earlier when these small nations had gathered together and had at least fought Assyria to a draw up to the north at a place called Qarqar. Now, Israel, the Northern Kingdom and Syria, Aram decided they would have to try it again, and so they tried to persuade Judah to join them in a coalition. Well, that was a pretty risky thing. If your coalition failed, the Assyrians would do very bad things to you. As I said, the Assyrians had mastered military technology. They had also mastered terror to a very great extent. Now, it took the Romans to really discover how to work terror to a more efficient degree, but the Assyrians, if they captured you and wanted to torture you, they put a post in the ground, sharpened it, picked you up and dropped you on it so that the sharpened point came up under your rib ribcage.

The problem with that was that the victims died too soon. It took crucifixion to figure out a way to make them die slowly, but nevertheless, the Assyrians were not a people you wanted to mess around with. And so we can understand why Ahaz would feel a little bit uncertain about joining this coalition, particularly since apparently it would be just the three countries and whether the three countries could marshal enough forces to stand in the way of the Assyrians, a little bit uncertain. So Ahaz said no to the request to join the coalition. Well, Pekah, the King of Israel and Rezin the King of Syria decided they didn't like that idea very well. So they decided that they would attack Judah, depose Ahaz and put their own choice of king, a man named Tabeel on the throne. Now, the suggestion is that this would not have been a son of David that isn't specified, but it looks as though the text says, "When the house of David received the news, they trembled like leaves on the trees of the forest."

That suggests to me that in fact, it's not merely Ahaz that's going to be deposed, it's the house of David that's going to be deposed. So this is a big, big issue. So in those days before the invention of catapults and some other kinds of things that could break through walled cities, the primary way that you dealt with a walled city was siege. You simply starved them out if you could, and your hope if you were a besieged city was that something else would happen to your besiegers and make them go away before the siege had reached its terrible effect. But this is the situation in which Ahaz finds himself.

He is having to look at the likelihood of this lengthy siege and all that that could mean and if it is successful, his own death and the removal possibly of the house of David from the throne. So what to do? We know from the book of Kings that what he chose to do was to collect a great, great sum of money and send it to Tiglath-Pileser and say, "Kind sir, would you please attack Israel and Syria for me?" I would like to see an instant replay of that when the messenger arrives and Tiglath-Pileser says, "He's going to pay me to do what I was planning to do anyway? Quick cash the check."

I've often thought this is a bit like three mice having a fight and one of them hiring the cat. And so it's in that situation that Isaiah arrives to meet Ahaz with the word you can trust Yahweh. Not a welcome word, and it's in that context where Ahaz refuses to trust Yahweh that the rest of these chapters play out. There are basically three sections and I try to use the language division, subdivision, and section. So there are three sections in this subdivision, seven to 12. The first one is chapters 7:1 to 9:7, and I would title it Children, Signs of the Promise.

Ahaz is faced with a military monster. He is faced with this huge empire with its armies carefully organized into engineers, light infantry, heavy infantry, chariots, a juggernaut, and what is God's word? Children, they show up right through this subdivision. The first one is Isaiah's son, Schear-Jaschub. That's in chapter seven, verse three. The meaning of his name is only a remnant will return. I like to envision that picture. Here is Ahaz looking over the waterworks, got to have water if you're going to be besieged. Got to make sure that the waterworks are functioning and here comes, oh no, Isaiah. Kings hated to see prophets, particularly Israelite prophets because unlike pagan prophets who were paid to make sure the king succeeded, Israelite prophets seemed to be paid to make sure the king got straightened out.

Here comes Isaiah. Oh, Isaiah, how good to see you. It's been so long. Who's this with you? This is only a remnant will return, gulp. Then another child, Emmanuel, chapter seven, verse 14, God with us. Is that good news or bad news? Well, it all depends. Then there is Isaiah's son and we really don't name our kids much for him anymore, Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz. Maybe they called him Buzzy for short. I don't know. The spoil speeds, the prey hastes. Then there is Isaiah's children, chapter eight, verses 16 and 18, his disciples whom he calls my children. Then there is the child, 9:6, "Unto us a child is born.

In chapter 10, verse 19, "The trees will be so few in the forest that God cuts down, that a child can count them." And in chapter 11, "A child can play over the hole of the asp." And in verse eight, "A little child will lead them." Children, children, children. We can hear Ahaz saying, "I need the Incredible Hulk, and instead you send me babies?" I wonder what the point of all that is. So that's the first section 7:1 through 9:7, Children, Signs of the Promise. In this section, the message is refusal to trust brings destruction, but destruction is not God's intended last word. I'm going to repeat that phrase many times during these lectures because it is so vital to what Isaiah is saying. Destruction is never God's intended last word. It may be his last word, but that's up to us.

If he brings judgment, it is not that he wishes to destroy us and wipe us off the face of the earth. If he brings it, he brings it for the intended purpose of refining and repentance and restoration. So refusal to trust brings destruction, but destruction is not God's intended last word. The next section is 9:8 to 10:4. 9:8 to 10:4, here in an interesting sort of apparent shift, we suddenly move to talking about God's moral law 9:8 to 10:4 a beautifully constructed poem in four stanzas, and it seems to me that Isaiah is saying Assyria is not the issue here. Assyria is not what we have to contend with. God's moral law is what we have to contend with. Get right on that score, get right on that basis, and we don't have to worry about Assyria. And that is in fact the way the rest of the subdivision is structured with 10:5 though 12:6, The Promise Assured. 10:5 though 12:6, The Promise Assured.

We begin with judgment upon Assyria and we move from that. That's in chapter 10:5-34. We move from that to chapter 11, which is a glorious picture of the kingdom of the Messiah, and we finally close with a beautiful hymn of praise in chapter 12 verses one through six. There we see what trust can finally mean for the people. So it's fascinating that the subdivision seven through 12 begins with no trust and ends with a great hymn on the basis of God's trustworthiness. So we move from the very negative to the very positive.

If judgment comes, it is not God's intended last purpose. On the other side of destruction is God's kingdom, the kingdom of praise and of trust. So if we look at the line of thought running through this chapters or these chapters, it goes somewhat like this, chapter seven, trust God to deliver you. No? Then whatever you trust in place of God will turn on you and destroy you Chapter eight, but that destroyer is only God's tool and like you, it is subject to his law. Chapters nine and 10, the destroyer will be destroyed chapter 10. You will be delivered by the child, nine and 11. God can be trusted, 12.

Let me go through that again. It's the line of thought that runs through these chapters. First of all, trust God to deliver you. Second, no? Then whatever you trust in place of him will turn on you and destroy you. Third, the destroyer is only God's tool and is subject to the same law as you. Four, the destroyer will be destroyed. Five, you will be delivered by the child. God can be trusted. That's the flow of thought through these chapters. The PowerPoint slide that you're going to see here is a way of trying to visualize that. The basis of it all is chapter six, one to 13. First of all, it will be burned. Coming from that, Assyria is trusted. Coming from that, unbelievers will be destroyed by Assyria. From that, but the Messiah will give you light for darkness. That's chapter 7:8 to 9:8. Chapter seven, chapter eight, and chapter nine, verses one to eight.

Then in the middle we find the moral law, the basis for judgment. That's 9:8 to 10:4 and another arrow under it pointing farther down. We're going to start over again. So we had a column. It will be burned. Assyria trusted, unbelievers destroyed by Assyria, the Messiah, light for darkness, the moral law, and now 6:1-13 the holy seed is its stump. And now then Assyria is judged and the believers are restored from Assyria and the Prince of Peace, deliverance from the oppressive Assyrians and over it all God can be trusted. So two columns, Assyria trusted, believers destroyed by Assyria, the Messiah, light for darkness, the moral law, the real basis for judgment. Assyria judged, believers restored from Assyria, the Prince of Peace, deliverance from oppressive Assyrians and over it all, chapter 12, God can be trusted. With that overview of the subdivision, I'm going to go back now and talk in some detail about chapters seven and eight.

As I said to you earlier, this location where Isaiah meets Ahaz is very important for how it's going to be repeated over in chapter 36. Here, and the description is quite specific. "Go out, you and your son Schear-Jaschub to meet Ahaz at the end of the aqueduct of the upper pool on the road to the Launderer's Field." Now that description is exactly repeated in chapter 36. As I said, the water supply is of extreme importance. Water runs out and you're dead within a week. So trust, trust, reliance, dependability, "Say to him, be careful, keep calm. Don't be afraid. Don't lose heart because of those two smoldering stubs of firewood, because of the fierce anger of Rezin of Aram and the son of Remaliah. Aram, Ephraim and Remaliah's son have plotted your ruin. Let us invade Judah, let us tear it apart, divide it among ourselves, make the son of Tabeel king over it. Yet this is what the sovereign Lord says. 'It will not take place. It will not happen.'"

You don't have to worry about this. And then in a word play that translators have tried to sort out through the years. "If you won't be firm, how can you be made firm?" What's it saying? If you won't be firm in trusting him, he cannot make you firm in survival. If you won't trust, God is not going to be able to deliver you. So there's the challenge right at the outset. What is this all about? This is about trust in God. This is about trust in God, in the face of what might look like overwhelming reality, but there's the challenge. So verse 11, "Ask the Lord your God." Significant. He's your God, Ahaz, "Ask the Lord your God for a sign whether in the deepest depths or the highest heights." Now, I think that's significant. It's not just any old sign. Ask for one that is unbelievable. Ask for one that is dramatic. Ask for one that's earth shaking

And Ahaz, what are you going to do? You've already sent this king's ransom to Tiglath-Pileser. If you say, no, I'm not going to trust God, you'll really look bad. So what do you do? Oh, I know. I wouldn't want to put God to the test like that. It's fascinating when belief can be used as a cover for unbelief. The Lord says, "Oh, taste and see. Taste and see." And there's an important point here that was made to me many years ago that has been very encouraging for me, and that is the difference between question and doubt.

Question says, I believe, help my unbelief. Lord, can you show me how you would do that? Can you show me how you would fulfill your promise? Doubt says, I do not believe and I won't believe until you prove it. Is it a sign of unbelief to ask questions? No. It is a sign of unbelief to doubt. And so in those circumstances, Isaiah says to him, "Fine, then I'll give you a sign anyway, it's not enough for you to weary my people, but you've got a weary God too. So here's your sign." The sign of course, is the famous words of Isaiah 7:14, Yahweh himself. And again, I think those are important words. Yahweh himself will give you a sign, not just me.

The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son and will call him God with us. Now, it's very clear as you read the rest of chapter seven that there is an immediate significance for that sign. He says, "He will be eating curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right for before the boy knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right the land of the two kings you dread will be laid waste." What's he saying? He's saying if a child is conceived today before that child is 12 years old, able to distinguish between right and wrong, those two nations are going to be destroyed. Well, in fact, that's exactly what happened. This date is probably 735. Within three years, 732 Damascus was destroyed and within 12 years, Samaria was destroyed.

So there's this immediate sign, is God with you, Ahaz? Yes he is. Yes, he is. You don't need to be afraid of those two nations. You didn't have to spend that money either. Assyria was coming anyhow, but you paid for the military campaign. You didn't need to do that. God is with you. But there's a funny thing about this statement. I read the New International Version. It says, "The virgin will conceive." If you happen to have a New Revised Standard Version, it would read, "The young woman will conceive." What's going on? Isaiah, I am perfectly confident, has chosen an ambiguous word. There is a Hebrew word which specifically means physically virginal [foreign language 00:31:47]. He did not use that word.

I remember my grandfather who was a lay preacher condemning the Revised Standard Version all over the place because it had changed virgin to young woman. Well, it doesn't say virgin literally. On the other hand, it doesn't say young woman either. The Hebrew word is not [foreign language 00:32:17] young woman. What does it use? The word [foreign language 00:32:27]. Not very common, some 20 times in the Old Testament, and when it is used, it is referring to a woman of marriageable age. If that woman is unmarried, she is a virgin. Otherwise she's a [foreign language 00:32:48], a harlot. I think Isaiah under the inspiration of the spirit, chose that word on purpose because the question is, is God really with us?

Is this just a metaphor? Is this just language or can the eternal God come into our lives, into our context, into our world? Can he take our humanity upon himself? Can he be with us? And the answer to that question is yes. Yes. And so people argue about, well, does this have a double fulfillment? I want to say no. It has one fulfillment. God is with us, but it has two iterations. One of those is for Ahaz' own time. I think if you had said to Ahaz, a [foreign language 00:33:56] is going to conceive, I don't think he would've heard anything else. That's not the issue there. The issue is Ahaz, you think God is somewhere far off in the wilderness. You think God is some place far off in the universe? No, he's here. He's involved in your life. He's involved in your concerns. Yeah, but is that really true? Yes. And I think the indication is a little later in chapter eight, we're going to talk about this land as being Emmanuel's land.

We're not merely talking about a child who is conceived now and within 12 years. So this sign as high as heaven or deep as hell given by Yahweh himself, I'm confident is for that time, yes, but it's for all time. It's for Ahaz and it's for the world. So Matthew is not as some interpreters want to say, making use of an Old Testament passage. I think indeed Matthew is correct when he says this is the fulfillment. This is ultimately what that sign was all about. And in that sense, we can take it with confidence.

Continuing to look at chapter seven, verse 17, "The Lord will bring on you and on your people and on the house of your Father a time unlike any since Ephraim broke away from Judah almost 200 years ago, he will bring the king of Assyria." Now, I've said this several times, I want to say it again. I enjoy telling my students that repetition is the soul of education. In case you didn't get that, repetition is the soul of education.

Whatever you trust in place of God will turn on you and destroy you. You trusted Assyria instead of Yahweh. And I'm here to tell you, Isaiah says, the day is coming when those two nations that you were so afraid of are going to be gone and Assyria is going to be on your doorstep. Oh, it's true, it's true. If you trust a profession in place of Yahweh, that profession will eat you alive. If you trust human love in place of Yahweh, it will destroy you. If you trust mother love in place of Yahweh, it will devour you.

Whatever you trust in place of Yahweh will one day turn on you and destroy you. That's the point that Isaiah is going to make in detail in the rest of chapter seven and into chapter eight. "In that day, the Lord will use a razor hired from beyond the Euphrates river, the King of Assyria, to shave your head and private parts and cut off your beard also." Oh my. I enjoy talking about that verse to students because it's a classic textual critical verse. The verb for higher and the verb for drunken sound, almost identical, [foreign language 00:38:05] and [foreign language 00:38:06]. So the Septuagint says, "The Lord will shave you with a drunken razor from beyond the river." That's pretty scary. Rather than a razor hired from beyond the river. To hire and to be drunk are the verbs that sound very much alike, but he's going to shave you. And of course, for a man in those circumstances, to be be shaven was a terrible disgrace. The only times you voluntarily shaved were to show mourning. So here it is again. You're going to be disgraced. You're going to be ashamed.

So he says, "The fields that once were full of vines now will grow up in thorns and brambles." That's another pair that Isaiah likes to use about five times through the books, thorns and brambles, thorns and brambles. Now, in chapter eight verse one, he says, "Take a large scroll and write on it with an ordinary pen Maher-shalal-hash-baz. So I called in Uriah, the priest and Zechariah, son of Jeberechiah as reliable witnesses for me. Then I went into the prophetess..." NIV says, "I made love to the prophetess. She conceived and bore a son." Same language as we had back there in seven.

"She conceived and bore a son, and the Lord said to me, name him Maher-shalal-hash-baz for before the boy knows how to say, 'My father' or 'My mother' the wealth of Damascus and the plunder of Samaria will be carried off by the king of Assyria." I think that Maher-shalal-hash-baz was the immediate fulfillment of the Emmanuel sign three years now in this case and that would be Damascus is destroyed. And the wealth of Israel, the Northern Kingdom was largely carried away. Samaria wasn't destroyed yet, but there wealth was largely. Now, not everybody by a long shot believes that, but it seems to me that that works in terms of how the immediate fulfillment of that sign back there was to be carried out in the lifetime of the people.

Then verse five, "The Lord spoke to me again because this people has rejected the gently flowing waters of Shiloah and rejoices over Rezin and the son of Remaliah..." By the way, did you catch again and again, Isaiah doesn't name the king of Israel. His name is Pekah. He says the son of Remaliah, which is a way of saying he's not from any royal line. He was a rebel who killed the previous king. So he doesn't even name him, "The son of Remaliah. Therefore, the Lord is about to bring against them the mighty floodwaters of the Euphrates, the king of Assyria, with all his glory. It will overflow all its channels, run over all its banks, sweep on into Judah, swirling over it, passing through it, reaching up to the neck. Its outspread wings will cover the breadth of your land. Emmanuel."

What a picture. As I said to you before, Isaiah loves these graphic images. Here is the gently flowing stream of Shiloah, the water's sent. It's very probable he's referring to the tunnel that Hezekiah was to dig eventually, gently flowing waters. God's provision. Not dramatic, not a big deal, but there it is. Since you've rejected that, you're going to be flooded by the Euphrates and the Euphrates is going to come right up to your nose. You chose to trust Assyria in place of God, and this is what you indeed will reap. So he's saying this now before Assyria has conquered Damascus, before Assyria has conquered Samaria, 30 years before they will be attacking Jerusalem.

But he says this is what's going to happen. Now, I'll say a good deal more about this before we conclude this course of lectures, but predictive prophecy is absolutely inseparable from the veracity of the Bible. Many scholars today simply deny that from the beginning there is no such thing when it appears you've had predictive prophecy, it was filled in after the event. I want to say, the Bible says, how do we know this theology is valid? Because God made predictions in advance and those predictions came true. The gods, they can't predict the future because they're part of the system. Can the thunderstorm tell you where it's going to go? No.

But God who is outside the universe and sees it all as a whole can say, "This is what's going to happen." And when it happens, we know that it is so. Again, I'll say this again, but remember what I said about repetition. When we try to use predictive prophecy to create timetables for the future, we're misusing it. God doesn't tell us the future so we can figure it out. God tells us the future, number one, so we can live in confidence knowing he has it in control. And number two, when it is fulfilled, we can say, aha, our faith is justified. We can stand here and live here. That's the purpose of predictive prophecy. But here it is. "I'm telling you, Ahaz, the day is coming when Assyria is going to be right up to here on you on Emmanuel's land, not your land, Emmanuel's land."

But look what he does next. And this is so Isaianic, "Raise the war cry you nations, be shattered. Listen, all you distant land, prepare for battle and be shattered. Prepare for battle and be shattered. Devise your strategy, but it'll be thwarted. Propose your plan, but it'll not stand for God is with us. Emmanuel." He says, "The Assyrians are coming. They're going to flood you right up to the nose. But Assyrians get ready. Your day is coming too." Assyria thinks that they are in charge of their own destiny. They're not. As we'll see later, they're just a tool in the hand of Yahweh. And they are not exempt from judgment either. Isaiah is never going to let things stand where they are. Oh my goodness, we're going to be judged. That's the end of everything. They're going to be judged too. Or God has wonderful promises for us. Oh good, we don't have to worry about anything, but this is what the situation looks like now. He's always going to call us back both for good and for ill.

Now then we sort of change gears at verse 11 of chapter eight. We have had the challenge to Ahaz to believe, Ahaz' refusal, the sign, and then talking about what that sign is going to mean about the enemy nations being destroyed, about Assyria coming. And the suggestion we're not just talking about an imminent fulfillment, we're talking about a longer term out there. Who does this land belong to? It belongs to Emmanuel.

But now, as I say in verse 11, we kind of shift gears. "This is what the Lord says to me with a strong hand upon me warning me not to follow the way of this people. Do not call conspiracy everything this people calls a conspiracy. Don't fear what they fear. Don't dread it. The Lord of heaven's armies is the one you are to regard as holy. He is the one you are to fear. He is the one you are to dread. He will be a sanctuary for both Israel and Judah. And he will be a stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall. For the people of Jerusalem he'll be a trap and a snare. Many of them will stumble. They will fall and be broken. They'll be snared and captured."

What's he saying? He's saying, these people are saying, "Oh my goodness. History is out of control. History is being run by conspirators. You think you know what's happening, but what's really going on is in smoke-filled rooms, what's really going on is in the dark places of the chancelleries. It's all a conspiracy." Does that sound at all familiar to you? And God says to Isaiah, "Don't do that. They're not in charge of history. They're not running this show. I'm in charge. You want to fear something? Fear me. You want to dread something? Dread me." Now again, because we know the whole word, we know that that's not the whole story. But his point is, I'm the holy one. I'm the one whose otherness ought to cause you to live in awe and wonder. Focus on me. And you won't be blown around by every new conspiracy theory that comes to us. I think of that so much in our country today.

So many of us need to stop worrying about conspiracies and focus on Yahweh, focus on God. He is our strength. He is our hope, he is our direction. And that's exactly what God was saying to Isaiah. Don't be sucked in to their fears about who's doing this or who's doing that. Well, what are the Assyrians doing today? Have you checked the news? What is God doing today? What does God want to do in my life? What does God want to do in our lives? Make him, make him. And then did you catch that double toned verses commentators struggle a bit with verse 14.

"He will be a sanctuary and a stumbling block." Well, no, it's one or the other, huh? I don't think there's a problem with it at all. He can be your sanctuary, if you will, or he'll be a stumbling block. He'll either be the place of protection and hope and rest, or you'll be falling over him all the time. It's like an equation that won't balance because you've left out one vital factor. So I don't think there's a problem at all, which is he going to be? Is he going to be your sanctuary? Is he going to be your stumbling block? You choose.

So he says, verse 16, "Bind up this testimony of warning, seal up God's instruction among my disciples. I will wait for the Lord who is hiding his face from the descendants of Jacob." Yeah, that's just exactly what God said would happen. Their hearts would be hard. They wouldn't see him. They couldn't hear him. I'll put my trust in him. I'm not going to say too much at this point, but wait and trust are synonyms in Hebrew. So when he says, "I'll wait for the Lord." He doesn't mean merely sitting on his hands. I'm looking forward expectantly. I'm waiting. I'm hoping. I'm believing. They go together. That's a teaser. "Here am I and the children, the Lord has given me, we are signs and symbols in Israel from the Lord Almighty who dwells on Mount Zion." I'm going to stop there. We'll pick it up tomorrow because the rest of chapter eight fills into chapter nine and they flow together. Questions.

Who is the prophetess in 8:3?

If I knew that I would be a very wealthy man. But I think the answer answer is this. If I'm right, that she is the [foreign language 00:53:08] that Isaiah pointed to. I think the mother of Schear-Jaschub has died and the prophetess is his fiance. I think that's what's going on.

Because it's not a prophetess, it's the prophetess.

No, it's the prophetess.

So there's someone specific.

Yes yes.


Yes, I think that's my solution. I should also say Herbert Wolf, who used to teach at Wheaton also agreed with me. So there are two of us.

Two witnesses.


In verse 7:14.


Where it refers to a virgin. And you already discussed-


How virgin can be either a young woman or a virgin. And that you concluded that she in fact was a virgin.


Then Matthew made reference to that.


But then here in eight, chapter 8:3, this particular virgin was not a virgin when the birth took place.

No, no.

So I don't-

And what 7:14 says is, "The virgin will conceive." So it means that this woman right now is virginal and at some future point she's going to conceive. So it does not require virginal conception. It leaves that possibility open. Conception, of course, assumes a male to break the virginity, but the passage can be understood, this girl is now a virgin, and at some future point she's going to conceive. And at that point, she wouldn't be a virgin anymore.