Text: Isaiah 8:11-14
Isaiah 8 is set in a period of spiritual and physical calamity. Israel, the northern Kingdom, has forsaken the Lord and is on an irreversible path to ruin. Judah, the southern Kingdom, is in spiritual blight under the reign of wicked King Ahaz. Both nations are being threatened by the dominant world power Assyria, a country known for its cruelty and ruthlessness. Having carried into captivity Israel's tribes east of the Jordan, Assyria is threatening the remainder of Israel and her sister kingdom, Judah. Israel has established a confederacy with Damascus to oppose the Assyrian threat and is pressuring Judah to join them. Neither nation is seeking their God, The LORD of Hosts Himself, at a time when they need Him most!
As Christians, we find ourselves living at a time of national and spiritual peril similar to that of Isaiah's day. We do well to hear and heed God's message to Isaiah!
The first thing that God instructed Isaiah to do was to not walk in the way of those that had turned their back on God. God did not instruct Isaiah to cease his ministry to Judah. In fact, this was a time when Judah needed Isaiah the most! However, God did instruct Isaiah to separate himself from the way and the walk of those around him. We, too, live in a time when our nation needs us the most. Rather than disengage from our God-given task, we must reengage with renewed vigor. We do, however, need to be careful how we walk as we go about our task. We must reject the thinking that in order to reach the world, we must walk like the world!
Not only was Isaiah to separate his walk, he was also to sanctify (consecrate) The LORD of Hosts Himself in his life. In fearful times, we tend to focus on the dangers that threaten. We are tempted to look to an individual or a party for deliverance. Israel's God was called The LORD of Hosts. The Hebrew term hosts specifically refers to armed forces ready for battle. It is ironic that Israel, preparing for impending battle, would make a confederacy with God's enemies, all the while forsaking their own LORD of Hosts. Israel feared the wrong thing! They feared Assyria when they should have feared The LORD of Hosts Himself. A person that doesn't fear God has much to fear, but a person that fears God has nothing else to fear!
Finally, God encourages Isaiah by promising him that if he would separate himself from the walk of the world and if he would sanctify God in his heart and fear Him, then God would be a sanctuary for him. God's message to Isaiah is certainly applicable to us today. If we will separate ourselves unto God and sanctify Him in our hearts, then we will find an impenetrable sanctuary from the fear and the chaos of this world in The LORD of Hosts Himself!
Written by Larry Quinlan