Swift

Then the LORD said to me, “Take for yourself a large tablet and write on it in ordinary letters: Swift is the booty, speedy is the prey. “And I will take to Myself faithful witnesses for testimony, Uriah the priest and the son of Jeberechiah.” So I approached the prophetess, and she conceived and gave birth to a son. Then the LORD said to me, “Name him Maher-shalal-hash-baz; for before the boy knows how to cry out ‘My father’ or ‘My mother,’ the wealth of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria will be carried away before the king of Assyria.” (Isaiah 8:1-4)

When God solves a problem, it stays solved. Ahaz, the king of Judah in Jerusalem was facing serious problems. He was facing the combined armies of Damascus and Samaria and feared for his life and the life of his nation. But he resisted God’s offers for help, preferring to scramble on his own. But God insisted on giving him a helping hand, anyway.

The very odd name of Isaiah’s son, Maher-shalal-hash-baz, means “Swift is the booty, speedy is the prey.” All names in Hebrew had obvious meanings to Hebrew speakers. But names usually were only one word, maybe two. The name for Isaiah’s son was a full sentence. It was not an ordinary sort of name at all. God used the prophet’s life as the illustrations within the book of his prophesy. Just as God had Isaiah run around naked for three years, just as he’d had Isaiah bury and thus ruin a belt, so now the birth of his son also served God’s purposes. God predicted that Damascus and Samaria would be defeated by Assyria before Isaiah’s son was old enough to even say “My father” or “My mother.” Thus, within three years of God’s words, they had both been defeated by Tiglath-Pileser, the king of Assyria. Ahaz—and Jerusalem—were safe.

God loves us despite ourselves. He’ll take care of us even if we resist him. He chases us with goodness and mercy all the days of our lives, determined to bless us whether we want it or not.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm a deacon at Quartz Hill Community Church. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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