Isaiah is commanded by the Lord to again use a son of his as a walking prophecy. The only problem is that he doesn’t exist yet. So Isaiah goes and does with his wife what produces babies, and she conceives and gives birth to a son. Prior to this (at least 9 months), he told Isaiah to write something on a scroll that a priest and another prophet (Zechariah) would be a witness to: “quick to the plunder, swift to the spoil.” This was to be a very public warning, and would become his son’s name. It’s important to read the historical context in 2 Kings 18 and 19. Isaiah plays a big role in chapter 19. Assyria comes close to destroying Judah, but the king pays them off, and they are spared, but only because they trusted in the Lord, and not an earthly king.
Then we get, in 8:13 to the crux of the issue. The people are freaking out, and the Lord says don’t listen to them. Don’t fear what they fear. Then he points forward to a Messiah who will himself be “The Lord Almighty”:
13 The Lord Almighty 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.
14 He will be a sanctuary;
for both Israel and Judah he will be
a stone that causes men to stumble
and a rock that makes them fall.
If there was ever a question about the deity of Christ, this should put it to rest. The stone and the rock here is “The Lord Almighty.” Both Paul and Peter confirm this, and as both say, this stone is what they were destined for, but they rejected it, or him. They were to put their trust in him, not their own works or the law, but in him. But they won’t, as Isaiah makes clear in the ending of the chapter. They prefer any word, as long as it is not the Word. Yet Isaiah warns them:
20 To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn. 21 Distressed and hungry, they will roam through the land; when they are famished, they will become enraged and, looking upward, will curse their king and their God.
Does this perfectly describe the human condition or what. We don’t listen to God, we stumble around in the darkness, suffering for our sin, then we curse God. It would almost be funny if it wasn’t so tragic. The human condition is as predictable as the rising sun, and we learn about the dynamics of it right here in God’s word, just another indication that it is God’s word and not man’s invention. The final words of the chapter even seem to intimate the eternal consequences of this rejection: “they will be thrust into utter darkness.”
Thankfully God has not left his people in their sin, but the temptation is always there to do the same thing. The blame God temptation never leaves us, but God in his mercy and grace (I John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to purify us from all unrighteousness.”), and power and wisdom and love, turns us from God blaming creatures to God trusting creatures. That really is the heart of sanctification. It’s not so much that I do more of the right things and less of the bad things, although that’s obviously part of it. It’s more relational than moral. God is our Father now and he wants us to trust him. Every event in our lives we would naturally want to blame him for becomes an opportunity to trust him with. We live in the moment; we don’t extrapolate disaster. We know his intentions toward us are pure benevolence a la Romans 8:28 and Matthew 7:11. The Lord was encouraging Judah in the face of looming disaster to trust him. How could we not trust him given disaster rarely looms for us. We can!