The second part of Isaiah 8 presents the only refuge, the only sanctuary that can save those who are otherwise doomed to His wrath. It begins with Isaiah’s preface, calling what follows that which was told him to keep him from going the way of national Israel. Isaiah 8:11 (HCSB) For this is what the LORD said to me with great power, to keep me from going the way of this people:
It should bring great comfort to those who know Christ as king to know He will do what is needed to protect us, even from our own inclinations. That’s what this message is.
Isaiah 8:12-13 (HCSB) Do not call everything an alliance these people say is an alliance. Do not fear what they fear; do not be terrified. You are to regard only the LORD of Hosts as holy. Only He should be feared; only He should be held in awe.
So often humans do what seems right to them because they want to prosper, to be safe. So they will team up with people who are naturally their enemies; fearing man more than they trust God. Rather than fear man or what terrifies him, we who call on YHWH as Father should rightly fear Him. He is totally separate from the creation. All that is from this earth will betray and crumble. God is – alone – above all and sovereign over all.
Isaiah 8:14-15 (HCSB) He will be a sanctuary; but for the two houses of Israel, He will be a stone to stumble over and a rock to trip over, and a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. Many will stumble over these; they will fall and be broken; they will be snared and captured.
YHWH will be a safe have – a sanctuary – but not for the two kingdoms of Israel. It’s Jesus being referenced here, for He was a stumbling stone of offense to the Jews of His day. All who do not see Him as the promised One will fall and be broken, caught in a snare and captured – by Satan. All whom the Father chose will find refuge in Christ. No one else can; they will find Him to be offensive and they will stumble and be crushed under the Chief Cornerstone.
Isaiah 8:16 (HCSB) Bind up the testimony. Seal up the instruction among my disciples.
Note this: “Seal up the instruction AMONG my disciples.” Progressive revelation – Daniel was told to seal the words (Dan 12:4); Isaiah was told to bind up the testimony but keep it among the disciples of God. In Revelation 5 Jesus begins to open the scroll and make it known to all.
Isaiah 8:17 (HCSB) I will wait for the LORD, who is hiding His face from the house of Jacob. I will wait for Him.
The servant of YHWH says he will wait for Him, the Creator and judge of things Who is hiding His face from Jacob (another reference to national Israel). He will make Himself known to those He has called.
Isaiah 8:18-22 (HCSB) Here I am with the children the LORD has given me to be signs and wonders in Israel from the LORD of Hosts who dwells on Mount Zion. When they say to you, “Consult the spirits of the dead and the spiritists who chirp and mutter,” shouldn’t a people consult their God? ⌊Should they consult⌋ the dead on behalf of the living? To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, there will be no dawn for them. They will wander through the land, dejected and hungry. When they are famished, they will become enraged, and, looking upward, will curse their king and their God. They will look toward the earth and see only distress, darkness, and the gloom of affliction, and they will be driven into thick darkness.
Jesus quotes the first part of verse 18 in Heb 2:13. Though it appears Isaiah is still speaking and refers to his children (signs and wonders), Christ Jesus is Immanuel, son of a virgin, given by God the Father, for the deliverance of His people and a sign to them!
Isaiah tells the leaders of Israel and Judah Who the real king is, the LORD of hosts who dwells on Mt. Zion; and he goes on to tell them not to continue following the ways of the pagan nations that have consistently infiltrated their community and culture. All who have not Christ will never be filled by things of this world – it can only bring distress, darkness, and affliction.
Turn to Christ while ye yet have breath! He – ALONE – is a refuge from the certain wrath of God that will eternally consume those who are NOT in His Book of Life.