At this point in time, Judah is not yet quite as idolatrous as her sister Israel. Israel jumped deep into idolatry, so much so that she is in over her head, and she will be swept away by a pagan nation. The cup of Judah's sins is not yet full but she is in up to her neck in them, and though Assyria will not be able to conquer Jerusalem, the swirling floodwaters of Assyrian soldiers will make much of the countryside desolate and ruined. The Lord gives us a picture of something like a tidal wave or tsunami that breaks free of its boundaries and inundates the land closest to it, with the waters reaching far into outlying regions before retreating. This wave will overcome Aram and Israel, with much of the water sweeping on into Judah before it is called back to its proper place.
Previously in the book of Isaiah we found a prophecy regarding Immanuel, a twofold prophecy involving a child soon to be born and a child to be born in a far-off time. Now the Lord applies the word Immanuel to Judah and Jerusalem, which the wings of a bird of prey will overshadow. The use of Immanuel in this instance may refer to the Davidic dynasty, the royal bloodline of Judah, the seat of the nation's power, and the rightful title-holder to the throne. The use of Immanuel takes us all the way back to Judah's first king, the shepherd boy David, but it also speaks of Judah's last king, the Shepherd of our souls, the Lord Jesus Christ. In the midst of all the bad news in the prophecies of Isaiah, time and again we find the Lord giving the good news that He will not make an end of His people. Since He brought the Hebrews out of Egypt, He has been "God with us" to the twelve tribes of Israel. When Assyria conquers the ten northern tribes and takes them captive, they have the promise that a remnant will return, the promise of "God with us". They will not cease to exist in a foreign land but will always be a nation in the eyes of God. When Assyria pours into Judah in an attempt to overthrow Jerusalem, they will not be able to do so, for the people there have "God with us". About a hundred years after Isaiah, Babylon will conquer Jerusalem and will carry the people away, but God will keep them safe in a foreign nation because He is "God with us". He will bring a remnant back to the land to rebuild the temple and the city because He will still be "God with us".
The Lord has been "God with us" to the twelve tribes of Israel since He first claimed them as His own. He will be "God with us" to them forever. His own Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, Immanuel, was born to this people. The Messiah was sent to them, just as the peaceful waters of Shiloah were sent to them. Though He was largely rejected by His own people at His first advent, just as they rejected the peaceful waters of Shiloah, this doesn't nullify His right to the throne of David. At His second advent Jesus will once again be "God with us" and will rule the world forever from Jerusalem. He will be "God with us" to the Jews and "God with us" to the Gentiles. To all who have accepted Him who was sent to us by God, He will be "God with us".
In the book of Lamentations the prophet Jeremiah bewails the fate of his people but at the same time praises the name of the One who will not make an end of them, though their sins deserve it. "Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. I say to myself, 'The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.'...For no one is cast off by the Lord forever. Though He brings grief, He will show compassion, so great is His unfailing love." (Lamentations 3:22-24, 31-32) Even in their desolation, the Lord is still "God with us", and all of Jeremiah's hope is in Him.
King David, a man of many mistakes who well understood the forgiving grace and mercy of our God, said, "He will not always accuse, nor will He harbor His anger forever; He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities." (Psalm 103:9-10) If God treated us as our sins deserve, we would already have been consumed. But over and over He makes His offer of peace to us, stretching merciful hands in our direction, extending grace in the person of His Son, Immanuel, God with us.
Below is our worship song link for today.
This Is Amazing Grace