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2012年04月02日

“Waiting on the Lord”

Isaiah 8:1-22 “Waiting on the Lord”



 



              Today
let’s look at chapter 8 of Isaiah. When Ahaz heard that King Rezin of Aram Pekah
the king of Ephraim had formed an alliance and was coming to attack,  Ahaz was shaken up, “as the trees of the
forest are shaken by the wind.” (2) Then God through Isaiah proclaimed, “Be
careful, keep calm and don’t be afraid.” (4) However, King Ahaz wasn’t able to
believe those words. He didn’t obey the command, ”Ask the LORD your God for a
sign.” (11) and tried to solve it by his own strength.  That was by asking Assyria to help.  He thought that by asking Assyria, things
would work out. However, Yesterday’s friend is tomorrow’s enemy. Next by this
Assyria Judah is tortured. This is how man always thinks.  On the surface it looks like he has solved
the problem, but it only binds him hand and foot. The real solution is in the
Lord. We have to wait on the Lord.  Today
I would like to share three things about this.



 



I.            
God is with us. (Vs. 1-10)



First please look at verses 1 to 10. First verses 1 to 4.



Vs. 1-4



               The Lord gave Isaiah another
son.  The son’s name is “Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz”.
(8:3) This name “Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz” (8:3) means “quick to the plunder,
swift to the spoil.” As the words say, Assyria will come and destroy Aram and
Ephraim and from them take the plunder. Damascus of verse 4 is the capital of Aram
(Syria). Samaria is the capital of Ephraim (Northern Israel). Assyria is going
to come to these 2 countries, and swiftly plunder and spoil them. The name “Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz”
(8:3) was a sign of this.  “Before the
boy knows how to say ‘My father’ or ‘My mother’ (4) means while he is still a
baby, probably before he is one or two years old. Just as it is prophesized in
7:15 to 17, within one to years, in other words in 732 Assyria attacked and
plundered Damascus (Aram). Then in 722 B.C. 
Assyria attacked and plundered Samaria (Israel).  King Ahaz probably felt he had done it. It
happened like he thought it would.  He
was able to overcome the                           difficult situation of
Aram’s and Ephraim’s attack.



However, this was not finished. Please
look at verses 5 to 8.



The Lord is accusing King Ahaz of rejecting
God and asking Assyria for help. “Because this people has rejected the gently
flowing waters of Shiloah and rejoices over Rezin and the son of Remaliah.”
(6)  “The gently flowing waters of
Shiloah” (6) is the stream that runs from the Spring of Gihon which is outside
of Jerusalem to Jerusalem. This water runs into “the Pool of Siloam” (John 9:7)
where Jesus healed the blind man. The lake of “Shiloah” (6) is in Greek, the pool
of “Siloam”. The length of this river is 533 meters, and throughout the length
the difference in depth is only 2 meters. In man’s eyes the flow is so gentle
that it is almost undistinguishable. However, even though this water was inconspicuous,
it was the water of life that they couldn’t be without.  It was a necessity of life. Even so they
neglected it “and rejoices over Rezin and the son of Remaliah.” (6) In other
words, King Ahaz rejected God and asked Assyria for help, and is rejoicing over
the fall of these two nations, Aram and Northern Israel.



Then what God is going to do is recorded
in verses 7 and 8.



Vs. 7, 8



“Therefore, the Lord is about to bring
against them the mighty floodwaters of the River.”(7)  “The River” is the Euphrates which refers to
Assyria. By Assyria Aram and Ephraim will be destroyed.  However, that is not all. “It will overflow
all its channels, run over all its banks and sweep on into Judah, swirling over
it, passing through it and reaching up to the neck.” (7,8) Assyria who was
supposed to watch over them, next is going to swirl over Judah and swallow it
up. This was fulfilled in 701 B.C. when the Assyrian King Sennacherib ‘s
invasion overwhelmed all the cities of Judah and surrounded Jerusalem and drove
them to the verge of falling.  That was
because King Ahaz “rejected the gently flowing waters of Shiloah” (6) and asked
Assyria for help.



This is a teaching for us too. The waters
of Shiloah flow gently so it is inconspicuous. However, in reality it is really
by this living water that we live. It is gently flowing so we carelessly reject
it, and our hearts are captivated by the showy                 activities that capture men’s
eyes. What our eyes really have to be fixed on,                what our hearts have to be
fixed on is the “waters of Shiloah” (6). Here is where the real solution is.



From the end of verse 8 to verse 10 it
says,



 “’Its
outspread wings will cover the breadth of your land, O Immanuel!’



Raise the war cry, you nations, and be
shattered!



Listen,  all you distant lands.



Prepare for battle, and be shattered!



Prepare for battle, and be shattered!



Devise your strategy, but it will be
thwarted;



Propose your plan, but it will not stand



for God is with us.”



This passage from the end of verse 8 is
very difficult. It’s hard to understand what these wings refer to. Up until now
Assyria was referred to as the water of the river, but here the figure changes
to a bird.  It is not clear if this bird
is a bird of prey                             
or if it is a picture of wings protecting Judah. If you take it as being
a bird of prey then it has the meaning of there being no place for the people
to escape from the Assyrian army within the country of Judah.  If you take it as wings of protection, then they
are the wings of God spread out protecting Judah. This would fit in well with
verses 9 and 10 which follow. “Prepare for war and be shattered! Devise your
strategy, but it will be thwarted; propose your plan, but it will not stand.”
(9,10) This is describing Assyria attacking Judah. Just as Aram and Israel will
be shattered so will Assyria be shattered. Their strategies and plans will not
stand. This is because, “God is with us.” (10)



In reality this occurred during the age of
Hezekiah.  This is recorded in chapters
36 to 39.  “In the fourteenth year of
King Hezekiah’s reign, Sennacherib king of Assyria attacked all the fortified
cities of Judah and captured them.” (36:1) Then Hezekiah prayed to the Lord, “You
alone are God…Deliver us from his hand.” (37:16, 20) Then the Lord said through
Isaiah, “Do not be afraid of what you have heard- those words with which the
underlings of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me. (37:6) I will have him
cut down with the sword. (37:8) By the way that he came he will return; he will
not enter this city. (37:34) I will defend this city and save it. (37:35) The
zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.” (37:32) “Then the angel of the
LORD went out and put to death a hundred and eighty five thousand men in the
Assyrian camp.  When the people got up
the next morning-there were all the dead bodies!” (37:36)



In the world in that age there was no way
that the strongest country Assyria shouldn’t have had victory of the weak small
country of Judah. However, they weren’t able to because God was with Judah. “Immanuel”
(8) His wing spread over the complete width of the nation and protected them.      



The way of this
people” (11) is the way that Ahaz and Judah were going. They  feared Aram
and Israel’s
attack. They joined hands with Assyria and was
trying to confront the attackers. However, that was to make light of the Lord.
Isaiah is warned   not to walk in such a “way
of this people” (11), not to have the same thinking as these people, and “do
not fear what they fear, and do not dread it” (12)



What he is to do
is written in verse 13.



Vs.13



Proverbs 29:25



We are
continually under pressure to decide whether to fear men or to fear God. “Fear
of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.”
(Proverbs 29:25)  “The LORD Almighty is
the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread.” (13) This does not
mean that believers don’t have fear. Believers have fears too, but what is
different is that in the midst of it they trust in the Lord.



Nick Vujicic
from Australia
was born with no hands and feet, a congenital                        handicap. He testified that he was brought
up in a family where his parents where pastors so he knew in his head that
Jesus loved him, but he was angry with God. “Why didn’t God give me hands and
feet like other people?” In adolescence he thought, “I drew the short straw. I
can’t obtain the ordinary happiness of a fixed job, marriage, raising children,
etc.  For my whole life I will have to
live being luggage for other people.” When he was 10 years old he attempted
suicide.  When he was 15 he heard the story
of the blind man in John 9. Jesus answered the disciple’s question, “Who
sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” (John 9:2) with, “Neither
this man nor his parents have sinned…but this happened so that the work of God
might be displayed in his life.” (John 9:3) This was the answer to his
life.  God didn’t change his situation,
but he changed his heart.  About that
time he gave a speech before 300 students. One girl came up to him afterwards
crying telling him how much his words had changed her and he realized that had
something that he could do for other people. 



From the time
that Nick Vujicic learned and believed that God’s grace was sufficient for him
and that grace became perfect in his weakness, he depended upon the Lord. As a
result he knew the plan of God. “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.”



“And he will be
a sanctuary.” (14) “A sanctuary” (14) is the place where we are with the Lord.
It is where the Lord is with us so we have nothing to worry about. It is a
place of safety.  However, for those who
don’t believe it isn’t so. It is “a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock
that makes them fall…he will be a trap and a snare.” (14)



Luke 2:34



These are words
spoken by the prophet Simeon when Jesus was born. Jesus “is destined to cause
the falling and rising of many in Israel.” (Luke 2:34) Christ raises
up those who believe in him, but is a stumbling block for those who disbelieve.
For some people he is a sanctuary, but for some people he is “a stone that
causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.” (14) What makes the
difference is whether you are depending on the Lord’s word or not.



Therefore, verse
16 commands, “Bind of the testimony and seal up the law among my disciples.” “Bind”
means to gather and tie things firmly together. “Seal up” (16) means to close
or plug. This means that God’s testimony and law is to be bound, and put and
stored well in our heart. This is the root of many problems.  We don’t consult God’s word, but other people
or things. 



Verse 19,20



Because they don’t
consult God’s word, but other people or things, “they have no light of dawn.”
(20) In that case, there is “distress and darkness and fearful gloom, and they
will be thrust into utter darkness.” (22)



This is not just
in the age of Isaiah, but is the same in the present age. If anything, people
have a tendency to be attracted to such things like “mediums and spiritists”
(19) or diviners. More than the Word of God, people are attracted more to
emotional things or things that stimulate your imagination, or things like
speeches that spark human emotions. 
Oriental ideas that are adopted in meditation is an example. Such things
have penetrated into Christianity. Then without realizing it, there are times
when we are immersed in it. Here there is “no light of dawn.” (20) There is “distress
and darkness and fearful gloom, and they will be thrust into utter darkness.”
(22) When there is no Word of God it is dark. 
Therefore, the Word of God must be bound and sealed in our hearts.
Persistently, we must cling to the Word of God. That’s because it is the Word
of God that gives life to people, guides people, helps people, encourages
people and leads people the right way.



Psalm ll9:105



Only God’s word
shines on our road and shows us the way we should go.



 



III.           
Waiting on the Lord (vs. 16-22)



Therefore, the
third point is to wait on the Lord. Please look at verses 17 and 18.



About the Word
of the Lord, Isaiah confesses, “I will wait for the LORD, who is hiding his
face from the house of Jacob.” (17) This is wonderful. What is so wonderful is
that he is saying that he “will wait for the LORD, who is hiding his face from
the house of Jacob.” (17) The situation that Isaiah is in is like the Lord is
hiding his face from them. If the Lord is alive, then why is Lord allowing this
situation?  Aram and Israel  are advancing on them, Assyria is surging into
the land, and no one listens to him telling them to depend on the Lord… This is
just like the Lord is hiding his face. However, Isaiah in the midst of this
says that he “will wait for the LORD.” (17) He will put his trust in the
Lord.  This is real faith. “Faith is
being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (Hebrews
11:1) Hope that we can see with our eyes is not hope. Something that everyone
can see, how can that be called hope? If we have hope in something that we can’t
see, then we can have patience and wait earnestly for it.  No matter the circumstances around us to wait
upon the Lord is what real faith is like.



Andrew Murray in
his book, “Waiting on the Lord” writes the following story. A little while
before in England
there was a famous orchestra that opened concerts here and there around the
country. However, depression started and the number of visitors coming got
worst.  Then within a few years it became
so bad that the common people quit buying tickets. One day in the evening a
member of the orchestra that without strength was putting the hall in order
said, “Today let’s cancel the concert. Last night there were few people. Today
what is worst is that the snow is falling. 
There may not even be one person that comes so let’s cancel.” Another
person chimed in, “Yes! Yes! I’ve had enough of continuing to work hard in this
bad situation.”



However, a wise,
older orchestra member said, “Wait a minute. We have a responsibility to the
people who bought tickets. Therefore, even if one person comes, we must not
cancel. Thus they were able to give the best concert that they had ever
given.  Among the small deeply moved
audience, there was a tasteful elderly gentleman who just as he was leaving handed
them a scrap of paper. On it was written, “Thank you for such a wonderful
concert. From the King” Yes, the king had seen the concert.



To wait for the
Lord is not an easy thing.  However, He
is our King of Heaven. Moreover, our Father is looking upon us with love.



Matt. 6:6



Therefore, even
if we are in a bad situation, if we put our hope in Him, God who sees all
things, will abundantly reward us.



Isaiah 40:28



“Those who hope
in the LORD will renew their strength…they will run and not grow weary, they
will walk and not be faint.”
Isaiah 40:28



 



Applying it
to our lives



* What are your eyes fixed on? the showy
activities of the world? or “the gently flowing waters of Shiloah”? (6)



 



 



 



 



 



*What are you consulting? What are you
putting your hope in? For you, what does it mean to put your hope in God?





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