Old Testament: Isaiah 8:1-9:21
Isaiah 8:1-9:21 Jesus’ Song
Chap. 8: Trivia question: what is the longest name in the Bible? Answer: Maher-shalal-hash-baz in verse 3. The NASB in verse 1 writes out the meaning of the name. The NIV in verse 1 just translates his name. The meaning is, “Swift is the booty, speedy is the prey.” Chapters 7-12 are a warning to the evil king of Judah, Ahaz. Most of the southern kingdom rulers are good kings but Ahaz is the exception. The name of Isaiah’s second son, Maher-shalal-hash-baz, is a message that God is going to deal with Syria and Ephraim. The name of Isaiah’s first son was Shear-jashub, a message that “a remnant shall return” to Jerusalem (cf. Isa. 7:3).
Verses 19-22 is a warning against spiritism. A rejection of God oftentimes lands one in the world of the occult. This can be astrology but we have seen a renewed focus on vampires and witch lore.
Chap. 9: You might think verse 6 is about Jesus’ birth, “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” It is often sung as part of Handel’s Messiah which I call in my own mind, Jesus’ Song.
But look at it more closely and observe the context, for example, verse 7, “There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore.” You can see it is really about His Second Coming.
Jesus was “born” for the nation of Israel and as a “son” was given to them. He will rule their government and be called “Wonderful Counselor,” “Mighty God,” “Eternal Father,” and “Prince of Peace.”
Who do you go to for counsel? Hopefully, it’s the “Wonderful Counselor.”
Obviously, He is “Mighty God.” Jesus is eternal and in that sense is the Source or Father or all (cf. John 1:1).
There will be no peace till He rules on His throne in the Millennial Kingdom (literally, a “thousand years,” used six times in Rev. 20:2, 4-7).
God is warning Israel to return to him in the end of this chapter. No matter what, there will be a future for Israel and a remnant will always cling to Him.
New Testament: 2 Corinthians 12:1-10
2 Corinthians 12:1-10 A Thorny Situation
Paul continues to make his case to the Corinthians that he should be trusted over the teachers of false doctrine that have infiltrated their meetings. Paul tells of his extraordinary privilege of being caught up to Heaven. He doesn’t know how it happened but he knows it was fourteen years before the time of his writing. He knows he was in “third heaven,” the highest Heaven (v. 2). The sky above being the first Heaven; space, the Second Heaven; and the dwelling place of God is the Third Heaven. He doesn’t know if he was in his body or not (vv. 2-3).
Paul had a “thorn in the flesh” (v. 7). It was no doubt some sort of bodily ailment, perhaps his poor eyesight (cf. Gal. 6:11). We don’t know. It’s better that we don’t know so we can all relate to Paul no matter our complaint. The sickness was a special gift from God that kept him from becoming arrogant about all the exceptional experiences he had had (v. 7).
His affliction enabled him to trust God rather than himself (v. 9a). He realized that when he was weak in himself, he was stronger in faith in Christ (v. 9b).
That was why Paul didn’t let external suffering bother him. He realized that when he was weak, he was strong (v. 10c) despite “weaknesses,” “insults,” “distresses,” “persecutions,” or “difficulties.” What a great attitude to have! And it’s only available to believers.