The Bible has been banned from our schools while Islam is received with open
arms. It has become politically incorrect to question the doctrine of Islam,
but politically correct to bash God, the Bible, and Christianity. As in the
days of old, the divine instructions have not been heeded and God’s people
once again find themselves in the throws of a major apostasy.
Don’t let the name scare you. Punctuation marks help us get the right pronunciation: “Ma-her-shal-al-hash-baz.” But the name meant something: “Hastens to the prey.” Here is the setting...
When Tiglath-pileser III took control of Assyria, he immediately made his bid for world domination. His westward movement struck fear in Syria and Israel [keep in mind that this was during the time of the divided kingdom, hence Israel, the Northern Kingdom]. With a common enemy in mind, Israel and Syria sought alliance, and then sought to bring Judah into that alliance. Ahaz is on the throne in Judah and Pekah in Israel. Ahaz feigns piety and loyalty to God, but despite the warning from the prophet Isaiah, this weak and wavering king sets his sight, not on God, but on worldly alliance with the apostate Israel and the heathen nation of Syria. Apparently the people loved Ahaz’s intentions, and so Isaiah gives the people a sign in two parts. Before his son is ever born, the prophet posts the words in a public location, leaving the people to read and study for themselves. When Isaiah’s son is born, he is instructed by God to give him this most significant name: Mahershalalhashbaz (Isa. 8:3). Syria and Israel would be destroyed, Assyria would turn toward Judah, and the people of God would suffer utter defeat. Assyria was “hastening to the prey.”
This brings us to Isaiah 8:11 where God speaks to the prophet with a “strong hand,” and warns the prophet not to walk in the way of the people. Don’t make a confederacy (8:12), don’t be afraid of their fear, sanctify God, and let Him be your fear and dread (8:13). Herein lay the fault of the people and their king. They would not listen to the prophets. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Elijah, faithful proclaimers of God’s word, were treated as traitors and trouble makers. Some of these faithful prophets of old paid dearly for their faithful proclamation of God’s word. But alas, their message fell on deaf ears. Rather than fear God, Judah feared the nation of Assyria. Rather than trust God, they placed their trust in a heathen nation and followed in the footsteps of their apostate brethren in the Northern Kingdom. The result was defeat at the hands of the enemy and the beginning of a journey into spiritual apostasy that would eventually lead to their being carried away into Babylonian captivity.
There are two applications I want to make for your consideration.
First, this Old Testament example teaches a truth that is clearly set forth in God’s word and is applicable to every nation, in any generation: “Righteousness exalteth a nation; But sin is a reproach to any people” (Prov. 14:34). “Blessed is the nation whose God is Jehovah” (Psa. 33:12). “The wicked shall be turned back unto Sheol, Even all the nations that forget God” (Psa. 9:17). Solomon’s admonition to “trust in the Lord thy God” (Prov. 3:5) is as applicable to nations as it is to individuals.
While Judah of old may have received a miraculous sign, it does not take a miracle to awaken the discerning mind to the danger that confronts our nation today. The simple fact is, America no longer trusts in God. “In God We Trust” may still be engraved on our coins, but it takes more than a stamp by the United States Mint on our coinage to demonstrate a nation’s trust in God. What this nation needs is another Mahershalalhashbaz; a clear and concise warning that should America not repent, God will raise up a nation that will hasten to the prey! America desperately needs to recapture the culture of a bygone era; a culture where men and women trusted in God and demanded that the leaders they sent to Washington do the same. America needs to return to a time when those who clung to their Bibles and their faith in God were a majority, and not considered the “radical right“! Unfortunately, like Israel of old, our electorate clamors for smooth words from her so-called prophets, and a religion that is non-judgmental and palatable to the moral whims of every new vice that might come down the pike.
The speed with which America is casting off her trust in God is dizzying. The present generation seems to be intent on destroying themselves by placing their trust in government, science, humanism, or any institution that can meet their physical needs, lessen dependence on God, and provide for their self indulgence with little or no restrictions when it comes to deviant behavior. The problem is compounded by a lack of knowledge of God’s word. The Bible has been banned from our schools while Islam is received with open arms. It has become politically incorrect to question the doctrine of Islam, but politically correct to bash God, the Bible, and Christianity. Oh yes, beloved, America needs to repent, remember, and return to her first love!
Second, there is a spiritual application as well. Lest we think the lesson of Mahershalalhashbaz applies only to nations, consider the following. The Lord’s kingdom (the church) is splintered and divided. Rather than trust in God and His Word, some have abandoned the “old paths” (Jer. 6:16) for an alliance with the denominations. Hand in hand with spiritual heathens, they march forward toward a presumed victory that shall only end in utter defeat. Those who still preach the old Jerusalem Gospel are pressured on every side to join them in their unholy alliance with other religious groups to defeat the onslaught of Satan. Sadly some, under the leadership of weak and wavering elders, capitulate (surrender). Thanks be to our God, there are still faithful preachers and proclaimers of God’s word. But as in the days of old, the divine instructions have not been heeded and God’s people once again find themselves in the throws of a major apostasy. Rather than listen to the word, too many capitulate.
Those who call for the old paths are despised and labeled as traitors and trouble makers. Edward Young has noted, “Throughout the history of the church, those who have sought to call the church back to her God-given mission and away from her man-made ‘programs’ have been treated as trouble makers.” But the message is still, “Mahershalalhashbaz“! There is a judgment coming, and God’s wrath is “hastening to the prey.”
By Tom Wacaster
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