Introduction: Let’s review. King Ahaz of Judah finds that his enemies
(Syria and Israel) have shown up, armed and dangerous, at his front
door step. He could rely on God for help, but he does not. Instead,
he bribes the King of Assyria to attack Syria and Israel. What does
Ahaz use for bribe money? The valuables from God’s temple and palace
money. Instead of relying on God, he relies on money and other
humans. Is it a smart move? Let’s jump into our lesson and find out!

  1. Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz

    1. Read Isaiah 8:1-2. Let’s put this in modern terms. Isaiah
      gets a big banner and he writes on it “Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz.” Why would someone put a message up on a banner?
      (They want to get people’s attention.)

      1. Notice that Isaiah calls in a couple of witnesses.
        Why would he do that? (It tells us that he wants to
        have no dispute that he wrote what he did, when he
        did, on this big banner.)

    2. We don’t know what this means, or why he wrote it, but God
      must have thought it important, right? Let’s continue with
      our story. Read Isaiah 8:3. Have any of you seen these
      stork signs in front of homes? What does it mean? (That
      they have a new baby in the house. It is a birth

      1. Consider how Isaiah does this. He puts up a birth
        announcement – a sign with his son’s name on it –
        before the son is even conceived. (By the way, the
        “prophetess” is his wife.) This is strange behavior!
        Why would Isaiah announce the birth of his son before
        he is conceived? (This is not just a normal birth
        announcement. Something else is going on.)

    3. To solve this mystery, we need to skip down a few verses.
      Read Isaiah 8:18. What are Isaiah’s children? (They are

    4. This child’s name bears some further investigation now
      that we know he is a “sign.” How would you like to have
      the name “Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz?” (One of the ladies in
      our office just gave birth to a son. The son has a very
      long and complex name. I figured the kid would learn to
      walk before he could say his name. Writing that name would
      be a task for second grade! Writing the name Isaiah gave
      to his son seems like junior high school level work to me.
      It is the longest personal name in the Bible.)

      1. “Hash-Baz” seems to have a “ring” to it. Anyone know
        what the name means? (It means “Quick to the plunder,
        swift to the spoil.”)

      1. If this son is supposed to be a sign, what does his
        name mean as a sign? (Pirates are present!)

    1. Read Isaiah 8:4. How old do have to be before you can say
      “Momma” or “Daddy?”

      1. Put this prophecy together with the boy’s name and
        tell me what it means? (It means that within a very
        short period of time the Pirate Assyrians are going
        to defeat Syria and Israel – the enemies of King

    2. Put yourself in King Ahaz’s place. Last week we learned
      that he decided to trust the King of Assyria instead of
      God. He bribes the King of Assyria to defeat his enemies,
      Syria and Israel. The King of Assyria does just that. What
      is King Ahaz saying to himself? (I was right to trust the
      Assyrians. It was money well spent.)

      1. Now tell me why Isaiah wrote the boy’s name on a
        banner and had it witnessed before the child was even
        conceived? (God wants absolute proof that He knew
        what would happen. This would tend to prove that He
        was responsible, and not the King of Assyria.)

      2. Have you been in the place of King Ahaz before? You
        trusted in yourself or in other humans and it worked
        out just fine?

        1. Have you had the experience of being unable to
          tell if something happened because of God’s
          power or the influence of someone else? Was it
          God’s power or just a coincidence? Was it God’s
          power or luck?

  1. The Choice

    1. Read Isaiah 8:5-8. Have you ever seen a river at flood
      stage? How does it compare to the river normally? (Rivers
      and streams at flood stage are dangerous.)

      1. To what does God compare Himself? (A gentle flowing
        river. “Shiloah” actually means a conduit. This gives
        the sense that the water is controlled.)

      2. To what does God compare the Assyrians? (A river at
        flood stage.)

        1. Why are these comparisons appropriate? (A gentle
          river brings life and blessings. A river at
          flood stage cannot be controlled and brings

      3. Notice verse 8. How high does the Assyrian river get?
        (Up to the neck.)

        1. What does this mean? (It will seem to be a close
          call. However, Judah will not perish in this
          Assyrian attack. In Isaiah 37 we read where God
          defeated the Assyrian army under Sennacherib.)

    2. Read Isaiah 8:9-10. Who is speaking here? The Assyrians or
      the people of Judah?

      1. The answer turns on the end of verse 10 “for God is
        with us.” With which army was God at that time? (I
        think this refers to the Assyrian army. The New
        Living Translation attributes this language to the
        Assyrians. God was aiding the Assyrians.)

    1. Step back a minute. God compares the Assyrians to an
      uncontrolled river at flood stage. Is that really an
      accurate picture? (The Assyrians could not be controlled
      by King Ahaz or the pro-Assyrian faction in his country.
      However, God says they will come up to your neck and no
      more this time. They were indeed controlled by God.)

      1. Is this still true today – that uncontrollable
        circumstances are still under God’s control?

    2. Read Isaiah 8:11-13. This is a famous verse. What do you
      understand this advice about conspiracy to mean?

      1. How does this advice apply today? (I see the problem
        to which this advice is addressed all the time. God’s
        people ally with the enemies of God’s people because
        they fear for the future. As Isaiah says, “The Lord
        Almighty is the one [alone] … you are to fear.” In
        every controversy, in every conspiracy, decide who
        and what promotes the Kingdom of God and support
        that. Don’t join with God’s enemies simply because
        you know things might change in the future. In every
        change of circumstances, God will hold the winning

    3. Read Isaiah 8:14-15. What is a sanctuary? (A safe place.)

      1. What is a stumbling stone? (Something in your way.
        Something that trips you up.)

      2. What is a sanctuary which turned into a stumbling
        stone? (Compare Matthew 21:44 and Romans 9:33. Jesus
        is the stumbling stone. To use another analogy, God
        is like fire. He can do you a lot of good, but if you
        do not respect Him, you will be hurt.)

      3. How would you put the statements in these verses in
        modern terms? (Be wise. Trust and obey God and you
        will be sheltered. Distrust and you will fall.)

  1. Source of Advice

    1. Read Isaiah 8:19. What motivates people to consult
      mediums? What motivates people to consult the dead? (They
      know them and think they have inside knowledge.)

      1. What does God say is unreasonable about this? (God
        tells us that the best source of advice is Him. Why
        go any place else? However, I think more is being
        said here. The dead are contrasted with the living. I
        think this suggests that the dead are really dead and
        any supposed consultation with the dead is a
        consultation with demons.)

    2. Read Isaiah 8:20. How can we distinguish good advice from
      bad advice? (God says that if the advice you get is
      contrary to what I have already told you, then ignore it.)

    1. Read Isaiah 8:21-22. What comes of taking bad advice?
      (First, your situation gets worse. Then you get angry
      about it and blame God. Then, you turn away from God and
      enter “utter darkness.”)

    2. Friend, the choice is yours. You can trust God and go to
      Him for advice and sanctuary. Or, you can take the “hard
      way,” by trusting others, taking unrighteous advice and
      ending up badly. Will you make the right choice?

  1. Next Week: Noble Prince of Peace.