(When I taught my two year long Bible study on Isaiah, I used The Pulpit Commentary Volume 10: Isaiah edited by H.D.M. Spence and Joseph S. Exell to give me a starting point and rough outline of the material covered in the chapters. In this article, when you read the phrase “my commentary”, I am referring to this volume.)
Read Isaiah 8:16 God is still speaking to Isaiah; He is commanding the prophet to write down this prophecy (verses 12-15) on a scroll, tie it up with a string (bind it) and seal it for future use. “among my disciples” implies giving the scroll to some godly men to be passed down to godly men of future generations. Which we know was done, from what we just read in 1 Peter and Romans.
This is similar to the command given to Daniel in Daniel 12:4.
Read Isaiah 8:17-18. Here Isaiah gives an emphatic statement of the attitude of himself and of his family regarding the hard times to come. “I will wait for the Lord.”
Isaiah knows that God’s protection and blessing on Judah is going to be withdrawn for a time because of the nation’s sins. But Isaiah trusts that God is still there, that He is in control, and that His blessing will return.
To understand how Isaiah and his children are signs and symbols we must review what their names mean:
Isaiah ‘” “Jah is helper”/ “Jehovah has saved” / “the salvation of God.” Isaiah is a sign of the coming Messiah.
Shear-Jashub ‘” “a remnant will return” This son is a sign that though Judah will be taken into captivity, a holy remnant will return to Jerusalem and serve the true God. (You can read more about the return in the book of Ezra.)
Maher-Shalal-Hash-Bay ‘” “quick to the plunder, swift to the spoil” This son is the sign of the coming spoiling and plundering of Damascus and Samaria and possibly of the later plundering of Judah by the Assyrians, and later still, by the Babylonians.
God will also use Isaiah as another symbol, contemporary to the day, by having him walking around stripped and barefoot for three years. Read Isaiah 20:1-6 (I hope the poor man was allowed to at least wear some undershorts!)
Read Isaiah 8:19 Rather than going to God the people of Judah were consulting mediums and spiritists. This was clearly against God’s law.
Read Leviticus 20:6 God calls this another form of prostitution. Israel (the Northern Kingdom) had already fallen into this sin. Read 2 Kings 17:17
A medium is a person thought to have the power to communicate with the dead (also called a necromancer), usually for the purpose of predicting the future. I’m not exactly sure how a spiritist differs from a medium but I’m guessing these are people that try to contact other kinds of “spirits.” As Christians we know that there are only three kinds of non-human spirits: The Holy Spirit (God), angels, and demons.
To contact God we pray, so that only leaves angels and demons. Angels are God’s servants, not ours; they don’t take commands from us, contrary to what you might hear from certain angel fanatics. Angels, when they do communicate with human being, give their message, point to God as the source (refusing any worship for themselves), then disappear. They don’t come because someone “called them up.” Spiritists, therefore, can’t be in contact with angels; that only leaves demons. How sad that this sin is still so pervasive today.
Read Isaiah 8:20 Isaiah is saying go to the Scriptures; they give commands and instructions about how to live, as well as testifies to what God has done. If some person or spirit tells you something which does not line up with the Bible, you know it is not of God. “they have no light of dawn”; no, they are in spiritual darkness.
Some doctrines can sound so “good.” But they are evil personified! How do you protect yourself and your family? You have to know the real thing (the Bible and the Holy Spirit) in order to recognize the counterfeit. That is why Bible studies like this one are so important.
Read Isaiah 8:21-22. When the Assyrians come, those who have not turned to God will wander the land, looking for food. They will become angry with Ahaz (their king) for not preventing this disaster and angry with God for allowing it. Interestingly it is only after this will they recognize the power of the one true God ‘” note Isaiah says “their God.” I think God prefers us yelling and angry with Him, rather than ignoring Him, which is what the Judaens have been doing previous to this. It will be a foolish anger, of course, because they were warned over and over what was coming and were given ample opportunity to repent and prevent this from happening. Everywhere they look it will seem dark and hopeless.
H.D.M. Spence and Joseph S. Exell (editors). The Pulpit Commentary Volume 10: Isaiah