Isaiah 33 is the This is the fifth of a series of woes. (The word “woe” is used 7 times.)
Four of the five woes are directed at God’s chosen nation. This fifth woe is the only one directed
at a foreign nation. This nation is Assyria.
These woes run through chapters 28-33. Chapter 32 of Isaiah speaks of righteous rulers in time that foreshadow the Messiah and his kingdom.
In Isaiah 33:1 the "Destroyer" is Assyria. Assyria has not been destroyed at the time of Isaiah 33.
The Traitor is Assyria. Assyria had accepted money from Hezekiah in a peace agreement. Assyria agreed not attack Jerusalem if Hezekiah met their price. This is recorded in 2 Kings 18:13-16
Now in the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah did Sennacherib king of Assyria come up against all the fortified cities of Judah, and took them.Hezekiah king of Judah sent to the king of Assyria to Lachish, saying, I have offended; return from me: that which you put on me will I bear. The king of Assyria appointed to Hezekiah king of Judah three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold.Hezekiah gave [him] all the silver that was found in the house of Yahweh, and in the treasures of the king's house.At that time did Hezekiah cut off [the gold from] the doors of the temple of Yahweh, and [from] the pillars which Hezekiah king of Judah had overlaid, and gave it to the king of Assyria.
- 2 Kings 18:13-16
No one dared to break a treaty with Assyria or else Assyria would destroy their land. There like an eschatological message in this that may be speaking to the ultimate Destroyer and the first Traitor: Satan. “When you stop destroying” refers to the time when Assyria, like all nations in time, will come to an end. This is one of the themes of human power in the scriptures: It will ultimately cease.
No matter how great the nation or empire (Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome, Germany, England, Russia, United States) there will be a historical fall and collapse of that people. These empires must spend their time in their glory and their prime realizing that this day of judgment at God’s direction by the hands of the other nations will come.
Treat you future conquerors righteously and justly.
This is a prayer of the people of Jerusalem in 701 BC when the events of chapter 36-37 occurred. When Jerusalem saw that nothing they did could deliver them they turned to God. When all their treaties, trips to Egypt, and tribute to Assyria had failed Sennacherib’s field commander stood at
their walls. At this final moment they cried out to God. It was easy to wait on God then.
They had no other choice other than to completely harden their heart.
God had often spoke through Isaiah that when the people decided to call on God he would deliver them. An example of this promise is in Isaiah 30:18:
Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him! - Isaiah 30:18
Notice: Isaiah ministry is starting to produce fruit in the lives of his people and in the values of his nation. Jeremiah began to proclaim the word of God to the people in 740 BC. It is now 701. It has taken more than 35 years. That is an entire 40 year generation.
How can Isaiah suddenly speak of deliverance for Jerusalem now when he has been predicting destruction in the first four woes? Because, the people’s focus has changed. They were trusting in nations up until this point. When the people’s focus changes then God’s response changes.
The “woe” has gone from Jerusalem to Assyria!
God was using Isaiah and the Assyrians to cause his people to cry out to him. When they cry
out for help then Assyria is in dangerous ground because they are attacking people who
are seeking God’s help.
Trust nations and be destroyed by God. Trust God and the oppressing nations will be destroyed.
Trust nations = destruction
Trust God = deliverance
“We long for you” or “We wait for you” indicates a change of faith focus. No longer are they
looking for Egypt.
The result is “all of Jerusalem was saved. Now, an entire generation had been lost, but
in the end the people of this day were saved as a whole.
A greater future day is coming for Israel. When they have no other option but to cry out to
God for help he will deliver.
“Be our strength every morning” is literally “be our arm every morning”
The warrior roles up his sleeves or bares his ARM for the battle. See below examples:
“Awake, awake! Clothe yourself with strength, O ARM of the Lord; awake, as in days gone by, as in generations of old.” - Isaiah 51:9
“The Lord will lay bare his holy ARM in the sight of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth will see the salvation of our God.” - Isaiah 52:10
“Who has believed our message and to whom has the ARM of the Lord been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, . . .” - Isaiah 53:1
“I looked, but there was no one to help, I was appalled that no one gave support; so my own ARM worked salvation for me, and my own wrath sustained me." - Isaiah 63:5
The Lord is anticipated appearing for deliverance. The nations that where feared (both positively – sought to help, and negatively – as a destroying enemy) are overthrown.
When God has finished his quick destruction of the nations what they had taken as plunder will be pounced on by men like young locust.
The Lord’s victory will place him as clearly the supreme ruler over all. From his exalted position
he will provide justice and righteousness to the people. This is similar to many other verses including Isaiah 32:15 where the Spirit is pour out from this exalted position of the Lord.
There the result is physical productivity along with justice and righteousness.
Righteousness is said to produce peace, which results in quietness and confidence.
Righteousness -------> Peace ---------> Confident Rest in the Lord
After the Lord has defeated his enemies and been enthroned in glory he will provide justice and righteousness. This justice and righteousness will be the foundation of civilization and culture at
that time (or, anytime it is allowed in any culture at anytime in history, including ours.)
The results here are said to be:
- Rich store of salvation
- Wisdom – true and correct evaluation of situations, values and issues. This is subjective application of objective knowledge.
- Knowledge – recognition of correct information and possession of facts that are true.
These are the objective things.
The key to this treasure is:
FEAR OF THE LORD.
The fear of the Lord can also be describe both positively (seeking him for protection) and
negatively (knowing he has the power to overthrow you) just like Israel had “feared” the nations Egypt (for protection) and Assyria (overthrow)
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline. - Proverbs 1:7
“Beginning” does not mean you start there and leave it. It means it is the first and controlling principle.
He is the foundation or the cornerstone of Isaiah 28:16.
33:7-16 These verses (7-9) describes the situation Judah was under at the time due to the
Assyrians. In verses 10-16 we see God’s response to the crisis and to the people’s faith.
Heroes and diplomats can not help.
The warriors who were to defend the city are crying.
The envoys who had gone to Egypt to secure protection weep.
Those who signed the peace treaty with Assyria and gave Sennacherib Hezekiah’s payment are despised because their promises to the people failed since Sennacherib did not honor their treaty.
God said he would wait on the people of Jerusalem in 30:18,
“Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. . . .Blessed are all who wait for him!” - Isaiah 30:18
Now, finally, after 39 years (740-701 BC, chapter 6 to 33), the people are waiting on God and they will be blessed!