This chapter does an inspiring job of mixing the worldly consequences of Israel’s sin with the coming promise of Jesus, who saves the world from all sin. The description of Israel’s plight is ongoing and here we have the threat from Assyria poetically laid out:
“Now therefore, behold, the Lord brings up over them The waters of the River, strong and mighty— The king of Assyria and all his glory; He will go up over all his channels And go over all his banks. He will pass through Judah, He will overflow and pass over, He will reach up to the neck; And the stretching out of his wings Will fill the breadth of Your land, O Immanuel.” Isaiah 8:7-8
The Assyrian King will go through Israel as floodwaters submerge a city. This description implies complete ruin and domination. These consequences from outside forces are the result of Israel’s disobedience and lack of righteousness.
The word, “Immanuel” is a reference to Jesus Christ and means “God with us.” It is mentioned in verse 8 because even though God will allow the Assyrian King to invade and defeat Israel, God will still leave a remnant of righteous men, which will eventually produce Jesus. God then says in verses 9-10 that even though other nations will be allowed to defeat Israel, these nations would also eventually fail. This subtle point is a reminder that God is in control of human events.
Verses 11-22 are a combination of warning and condemnation. Those that do not listen to God’s instruction and fear His power will receive punishment.
Even when it seems like madness to be righteous, do not weaken, but strengthen your resolve. There are many tempting beliefs to hold onto in the midst of earthly turmoil (the Israelites in this chapter were struggling with temptations like contacting the dead and belief in wild conspiracies). Even though it might seem odd or wrong to love Jesus in our world in 2017, we must not let our faith waiver.
The Lord is saying to us through Isaiah that Christ will heal all.
And He has!