April 16, 2008

Unbelief Deserves God's Judgment

Isaiah 8:1-10

Devise your strategy, but it will be thwarted … for God is with us.
Isaiah 8:10


Ahaz king of Judah refused to be persuaded by God’s word or by God’s sign. So Isaiah prophesied that what Ahaz feared would come to pass. God’s judgment would fall on Israel, and this would happen through the terrible fist of the Assyrian army (see Isaiah 7:17-24). The prophecy also accelerated judgment on Damascus and Samaria. A new sign was prophesied. A child named Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz would be born to Isaiah and his wife. “Before the boy knows how to say ‘My father’ or ‘My mother,’ the wealth of Damascus and the plunder of Samaria will be carried off by the king of Assyria.”

Oddly, all of this has to do with the confession that ends verse 10 of our reading. The last word in verse 10 is literally “Immanuel”—“God with us.” No human plans can thwart God’s plans. It matters not whether those plans are devised by Ahaz or by the mighty warlords of Assyria. The truth of Immanuel turns to dust all plans that are empty of God’s intentions.

God has devised an invincible plan of blessing that will bring good news to all the nations of the earth through the one who bears the name “Immanuel.”

As we make our personal plans, wisdom demands that we take God’s intentions seriously. Whose game plan do we live by? Our own pathetic strategies—or God’s unfailing purposes?

Father, have mercy on us. We do believe your Word. Thank you for the blessing that comes through your beloved Son, who took on himself the judgment for our sins. Amen.

About the author — Victor Atallah

Rev. Victor Atallah is the broadcast team leader for The Back to God Hour Arabic ministry and the general director of Middle East Reformed Fellowship. These meditations are based on texts of Arabic broadcasts aired a few years ago and an Arabic commentary on the book of Isaiah prepared for publication. Rev. Atallah and his wife, Lisa, live in Larnaca, Cyprus, where The Back to God Hour Arabic ministry is based. The ministry reaches Arabic-speaking people throughout the Middle East and North Africa, introducing them to Jesus Christ, Savior of the nations.

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