December 21, 2021 – Isaiah 8:14 & 1 Peter 2:7-8

The name of Isaiah’s son, Maher-shalal-hash-baz, indicates that the enemies of Judah who were so dangerously threatening Judah, Damascus and Samaria, were soon to be plundered by the king of Assyria. In such times of trouble, the Lord himself would be a refuge for his people but to all others a stumbling-stone: “He will be a holy place; for both Israel and Judah he will be a stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall. And for the people of Jerusalem he will be a trap and a snare” (Isaiah 8:14).

Peter understood the distinction, i.e., a refuge vs. a stumbling-stone, and applied this distinction to Messiah’s ministry: “Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,’ and, ‘A stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.’ They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for” (1 Peter 2:7-8). The same Jesus is savior and friend to those who receive him but judge to those who refuse the good news.

John Newton wrote about the sweetness of Jesus, sweetness that is known only by those who believe.

How sweet the name of Jesus sounds

in a believer's ear!

It soothes our sorrows, heals our wounds,

and drives away our fear. –John Newton (1779)

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