Isaiah 8

* Exhortations and warnings. (1-8) Comfort for those who fear

God. (9-16) Afflictions to idolaters. (17-22)

1-8 The prophet is to write on a large roll, or on a metal

tablet, words which meant, "Make speed to spoil, hasten to the

prey:" pointing out that the Assyrian army should come with

speed, and make great spoil. Very soon the riches of Damascus

and of Samaria, cities then secure and formidable, shall be

taken away by the king of Assyria. The prophet pleads with the

promised Messiah, who should appear in that land in the fulness

of time, and, therefore, as God, would preserve it in the mean

time. As a gentle brook is an apt emblem of a mild government,

so an overflowing torrent represents a conqueror and tyrant. The

invader's success was also described by a bird of prey,

stretching its wings over the whole land. Those who reject

Christ, will find that what they call liberty is the basest

slavery. But no enemy shall pluck the believer out of Emmanuel's

hand, or deprive him of his heavenly inheritance.
9-16 The prophet challenges the enemies of the Jews. Their

efforts would be vain, and themselves broken to pieces. It

concerns us, in time of trouble, to watch against all such fears

as put us upon crooked courses for our own security. The

believing fear of God preserves against the disquieting fear of

man. If we thought rightly of the greatness and glory of God, we

should see all the power of our enemies restrained. The Lord,

who will be a Sanctuary to those who trust in him, will be a

Stone of stumbling, and a Rock of offence, to those who make the

creature their fear and their hope. If the things of God be an

offence to us, they will undo us. The apostle quotes this as to

all who persisted in unbelief of the gospel of Christ, #1Pe

2:8|. The crucified Emmanuel, who was and is a Stumbling-stone

and Rock of offence to unbelieving Jews, is no less so to

thousands who are called Christians. The preaching of the cross

is foolishness in their esteem; his doctrines and precepts

offend them.
17-22 The prophet foresaw that the Lord would hide his face;

but he would look for his return in favour to them again. Though

not miraculous signs, the children's names were memorials from

God, suited to excite attention. The unbelieving Jews were prone

to seek counsel in difficulties, from diviners of different

descriptions, whose foolish and sinful ceremonies are alluded

to. Would we know how we may seek to our God, and come to the

knowledge of his mind? To the law and to the testimony; for

there you will see what is good, and what the Lord requires. We

must speak of the things of God in the words which the Holy

Ghost teaches, and be ruled by them. To those that seek to

familiar spirits, and regard not God's law and testimony, there

shall be horror and misery. Those that go away from God, go out

of the way of all good; for fretfulness is a sin that is its own

punishment. They shall despair, and see no way of relief, when

they curse God. And their fears will represent every thing as

frightful. Those that shut their eyes against the light of God's

word, will justly be left to darkness. All the miseries that

ever were felt or witnessed on earth, are as nothing, compared

with what will overwhelm those who leave the words of Christ, to

follow delusions.

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