Isaiah 33

The righteous God pays sinners in their own coin.
When they have filled up the measure of their iniquity,
God will begin, for the sinner’s day is sure to come.
The godly man’s comfort is that he shall,
in any event, have communion with God in this life,
and afterward look upon the King in His beauty.

1 Woe to thee that spoilest, and thou wast not spoiled; and dealest treacherously, and they dealt not treacherously with thee! when thou shalt cease to spoil, thou shalt be spoiled; and when thou shalt make an end to deal treacherously, they shall deal treacherously with thee.

2 O LORD, be gracious unto us; we have waited for thee: be thou their arm every morning, our salvation also in the time of trouble.

3 At the noise of the tumult the people fled; at the lifting up of thyself the nations were scattered.

4 And your spoil shall be gathered like the gathering of the caterpiller: as the running to and fro of locusts shall he run upon them.

5 The LORD is exalted; for he dwelleth on high: he hath filled Zion with judgment and righteousness.

6 And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, and strength of salvation: the fear of the LORD is his treasure.

7 Behold, their valiant ones shall cry without: the ambassadors of peace shall weep bitterly.

8 The highways lie waste, the wayfaring man ceaseth: he hath broken the covenant, he hath despised the cities, he regardeth no man.

9 The earth mourneth and languisheth: Lebanon is ashamed and hewn down: Sharon is like a wilderness; and Bashan and Carmel shake off their fruits.

10 Now will I rise, saith the LORD; now will I be exalted; now will I lift up myself.

11 Ye shall conceive chaff, ye shall bring forth stubble: your breath, as fire, shall devour you.

12 And the people shall be as the burnings of lime: as thorns cut up shall they be burned in the fire.

13 ¶ Hear, ye that are far off, what I have done; and, ye that are near, acknowledge my might.

14 The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?

15 He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil;

16 He shall dwell on high: his place of defence shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure.

17 Thine eyes shall see the king in his beauty: they shall behold the land that is very far off.

18 Thine heart shall meditate terror. Where is the scribe? where is the receiver? where is he that counted the towers?

19 Thou shalt not see a fierce people, a people of a deeper speech than thou canst perceive; of a stammering tongue, that thou canst not understand.

20 Look upon Zion, the city of our solemnities: thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation, a tabernacle that shall not be taken down; not one of the stakes thereof shall ever be removed, neither shall any of the cords thereof be broken.

21 But there the glorious LORD will be unto us a place of broad rivers and streams; wherein shall go no galley with oars, neither shall gallant ship pass thereby.

22 For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; he will save us.

23 Thy tacklings are loosed; they could not well strengthen their mast, they could not spread the sail: then is the prey of a great spoil divided; the lame take the prey.

24 And the inhabitant shall not say, I am sick: the people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity.

Isaiah 33:1-12 – ​God Exalted in Judgment

   Here we have the final prediction against Sennacherib. He had dealt very treacherously by returning against Jerusalem, though he had taken a heavy ransom to leave it unmolested, II Kings 18:16. In Isaiah 33:2 Isaiah recalls the daily prayer offered by the priests in the Temple, when they heard of the steady advance of the foe. It was quite true that nations had fled before the dreaded Assyrian, Isaiah 33:3; but in this case those precedents would be reversed, Isaiah 33:4, because the Lord would appear for His people, Isaiah 33:5. That was a sweet assurance that the prophet gave to Hezekiah in Isaiah 33:6—to sustain his spirit through the strain of the invasion described in Isaiah 33:7-8. God always gives us a promise on the eve of trial. He victuals His ships ere He exposes them to the storm. Though God sometimes seems to sleep yet when the hour strikes for the deliverance of His people, He will not tarry for a single moment. Be of good cheer; He will ride upon the wings of the wind to succor you! —Through the Bible Day by Day

Isaiah 33:2—Be Thou their arm every morning, our salvation also in the time of trouble.

​   This is an exquisite morning prayer, and the beauty of it is that it is so sweetly unselfish. It begins by appealing for the grace of God, but goes on to ask that He would be as an arm of loving support and deliverance to others, before the suppliant turns back to ask for salvation for himself in time of trouble. “Be thou their arm… our salvation also.” If you want God’s arm for yourself, ask that it may be given to some one else. If you want salvation in the time of trouble, pray that God would give his arm for the help of your neighbor.
   We all want that arm every morning. The gladdest, fairest day that ever broke for us, or will break, must have been marked, or will be marked, by pitfalls and snares. The path may begin with greensward; but before the evening it will have opened upon stones and steep ascents, and you will need the arm of your Beloved on which to lean. But you will never ask for it in vain. It will be always at hand. Be sure, like the Shulamite, to come up out of the wilderness, leaning on your Beloved. And whatever else you forget in your morning prayer, never forget to ask for the strong, tender arm of God. O woman, bereaved of the strong arm on which thou wert wont to lean, will not this suffice thee!
   Is not this a comprehensive prayer for dear ones far away or near? Be their arm, Heavenly Father, today. If I may not be there to give the strength of my arm, let thine be their stay, and Thou wilt do better than had been possible, had I been by their side. Then, when the hour of trouble comes, and you ask that He should be your salvation, the glorious Lord will be a place of broad rivers and streams. —Our Daily Homily

Isaiah 33:13-24 – ​The Reward of the Righteous

   The devouring fire and everlasting burnings of Isaiah 33:14 are clearly the emblems of the divine presence. The righteous dwell in God as the bush which was baptized in the Shekinah-glory and was not consumed. The fire of His holy presence makes them holy at the same time that it protects them from their enemies. Compare with Psalm 15. They are characterized by their walk, speech, the closed fist, the stopped ears, and the shut eyes. They dwell in heights which are inaccessible to the foe, and no oppressor can cut off their supplies of hidden manna or water of life. Hezekiah, Isaiah predicts in Isaiah 33:17, would soon put off his sackcloth, and the citizens would cease to be penned up in a beleaguered city. They should recall the terror of that hour as a bad dream, recalled to be dismissed and forgotten. Zion had no river, but God would be all that a river was to other cities, without the disadvantages of navigable water which might serve for the passage of a hostile fleet. Be sure to make God your judge, lawgiver, and king. Then, notwithstanding that you limp in weakness, you shall gather your share in the great spoils of victory. —Through the Bible Day by Day