Isaiah 8: 13-14. “Sanctify the Lord of hosts Himself, and let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread. And He shall be for a sanctuary: but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel and a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.”
God’s people were not to fear what the ungodly feared. There were many ungodly Israelites, which was the reason behind the impending attacks on both Ephraim (Israel) and Judah. They had been warned over and over, yet they chose to continue in idolatry. There would indeed be very great fear of their enemies.
Taken from W.E. Vine:
To sanctify the Lord is so to live that He has absolute authority and control over the heart and will, over every activity of the life, to walk in His fear, dreading to displease Him. This is the due response to His redeeming grace and love in Christ.
When we live in this manner, the Lord becomes our Sanctuary. God wanted to be that sanctuary for His people, but they preferred to put their trust in Assyria and Damascus. Because of their faithlessness, and later when they rejected Jesus Christ as Messiah (continuing to do so today, although many are beginning to turn to Him), Jesus would become a stumbling stone and a rock of offence for both the house of Israel and the house of Judah. He would be like a gin and a snare.
A gin was a loop or noose used to trap unsuspecting animals. The Israelites of Isaiah’s day were certainly unaware, by and large, of the dangers of their idolatry . There was a believing remnant, as there always is.
It is ironic to me that Jesus, Who would be the sanctuary for so many millions, was considered a stumbling stone; the One Who would become a rock of defense, a fortress, would be considered a rock of offense to those who rejected Him.
We are not to dread our earthly enemies; rather, we are to dread offending Jesus Christ.