Speeding to the Spoils
Then the Lord said to me, “Take a large piece of parchment and write on it with an ordinary pen: Maher-shalal-hash-baz. I have appointed trustworthy witnesses – Uriah the priest and Zechariah son of Jeberechiah.” I was then intimate with the prophetess, and she conceived and gave birth to a son. The Lord said to me, “Name him Maher-shalal-hash-baz, for before the boy knows how to call out father or mother, the wealth of Damascus and the spoils of Samaria will be carried off to the king of Assyria.” The Lord spoke to me again: Because these people rejected the slowly flowing waters of Shiloah and rejoiced with Rezin and the son of Remaliah, the Lord will certainly bring against them the mighty rushing waters of the Euphrates River – the king of Assyria and all his glory. It will overflow its channels and spill over all its banks. It will pour into Judah, flood over it, and sweep through, reaching up to the neck; and its spreading streams will fill your entire land, Immanuel! Band together, peoples, and be broken; pay attention, all you distant lands; prepare for war, and be broken; prepare for war, and be broken. Devise a plan; it will fail. Make a prediction; it will not happen. For God is with us. Isaiah 8:1-10 (HCSB)
In this passage, Isaiah proclaims that the Lord is affirming his justice will come swiftly like a flooding river and that the signs should not be ignored. As a sign of his intent, Immanuel from the previous passage (7:14) would be named Maher-shalal-hash-baz — for us non-Hebrews: Speeding to the Spoils or Plunder. The Lord would reveal his presence among his people, and those who have thought they could conspire together and plan evil will fail, because God is with us!
In our lives there are times that God proves his presence in our lives to prepare us for the tough times of trials and tribulation. Bad things can happen to good people, but the Lord promised to be with us in the midst of the floods and times of testing. God wants us to turn to him and trust him, rather than panic and seek manmade schemes to overcome the troubles of this world.
We all have a choice: listen and heed the call to race to God’s protection or witness the destruction and race to the spoils, only to find we too have been swept up in the same storms in life.
Be sensitive to racing toward him, in lieu of seeking out the spoils of others caught in the storms. We always have a choice but every choice has a consequence. In which direction will you race in those tough times? This passage is seldom preached – we stop at the Chapter 7 reference to Immanuel, God with us. But what was the context of the message to Israel? How is it relevant to us? Do we still let greed draw us to ignore the rising waters around us too?