Passage: The Lord said to me, "Take a large scroll and write on it with an ordinary pen: Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz. And I will call in Uriah the priest and Zechariah son of Jeberekiah as reliable witnesses for me."
Then I went to the prophetess, and she conceived and gave birth to a son. And the Lord said to me, "Name him Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz. 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."
The Lord spoke to me again: "Because this people has rejected the gently flowing waters of Shiloah and rejoices over Rezin and the son of Remaliah, therefore the Lord is about to bring against them the mighty flood waters of the River - the king of Assyria with all his pomp. It will overflow all its channels, run over all its banks and sweep on into Judah, swirling over it, passing through it and reaching up to the neck. Its outspread wings will cover the breadth of your land, O Immanuel!"
Raise the war cry, you nations, and be shattered! Listen, all you distant lands. Prepare for battle, and be shattered! Prepare for battle, and be shattered! Devise your strategy, but it will be thwarted; propose your plan, but it will not stand, for God is with us.
Journal: The "prophetess" is the wife of Isaiah (name unknown). Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz is the son of Isaiah and his wife. The name means "quick-pickings-easy-prey." How about that name being called out for the little fellow on the first day of school? Apparently, the name has a double meaning, and implies that the enemies of King Ahaz (Syria and Israel) would be plundered, but that Judah would be vulnerable and would suffer (at the hand of Assyria). The name was a sign of what was to come. (Remember that the name of Isaiah's other son was also a sign and meant "a remnant would return," reflecting the recovery of a remnant of Judah after its future exile at the hand of Babylon.)
The name Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz was to be written on a scroll (probably a large board) and witnessed. It apparently served the purpose of a birth certificate. (I would hate to serve as the county clerk of Jerusalem.) The sign given by the name (the onslaught by Assyria against Syria [Damascus] and Israel [Samaria]) would happen in the next couple of years, for it would occur before the boy would say father or mother ("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.")
The birth of Isaiah's second son was a sign of pending judgment. Indeed, within a couple of years the northern kingdom (Israel) would experience the first stages of its destruction and exile. This was no insignificant aggression, for history shows that Assyria was one of the most brutal powers to ever emerge. The consequences of sin are brutal and devastating. The ultimate conqueror for unforgiven sin is Satan, and his kingdom is far more torturous than any human nation. The exile is eternal.
Yet a sign has been given, and the sign was born in a manger and hung on a cross. The sign has been fulfilled, and sits at the right hand of God the Father. The ultimate conqueror for forgiven sin is Christ Himself, and His rule is joyful beyond measure or comprehension. The simplicity of the choice is ludicrous, and yet the blindness of sin makes the choice incomprehensible to the lost soul. Praise God for souls that are found. Praise God for an eternal freedom from the exile of a complete and devastating rebellion.
Heard 'Round the House:
Jill was giving me a haircut in our bathroom two nights ago. She is very professional in her duties (probably stemming from her childhood dreams of becoming either a hair dresser or a lawyer), and has a cheap plastic thing she drapes around me and hooks at my neck with duct tape. Luke (age 11) walks in when the following sobering conversation ensues:
Luke: Mommy, you should open your own hair saloon. You could call it "Jill's Hair Saloon."
[Mommy and Daddy laughing]
Daddy: Luke, it is a hair salon. A saloon is like a bar in the Old West.
Luke: Oh, I thought it was saloon. Well, I guess she could call it "Jill's Drunken Hair Saloon."