Isaiah 33

1 Woe to you who destroy, but you weren’t destroyed; and who betray, but nobody betrayed you! When you have finished destroying, you will be destroyed; and when you have finished betrayal, you will be betrayed. 2 LORD, be gracious to us. We have waited for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation also in the time of trouble. 3 At the noise of the thunder, the peoples have fled. When you lift yourself up, the nations are scattered. 4 Your plunder will be gathered as the caterpillar gathers. Men will leap on it as locusts leap. 5 The LORD is exalted, for he dwells on high. He has filled Zion with justice and righteousness. 6 There will be stability in your times, abundance of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge. The fear of the LORD is your treasure. 7 Behold, their valiant ones cry outside; the ambassadors of peace weep bitterly. 8 The highways are desolate. The traveling man ceases. The covenant is broken. He has despised the cities. He doesn’t respect man. 9 The land mourns and languishes. Lebanon is confounded and withers away. Sharon is like a desert, and Bashan and Carmel are stripped bare. 10 “Now I will arise,” says the LORD; “Now I will lift myself up. Now I will be exalted. 11 You will conceive chaff. You will give birth to stubble. Your breath is a fire that will devour you. 12 The peoples will be like the burning of lime, like thorns that are cut down and burnt in the fire. 13 Hear, you who are far off, what I have done; and, you who are near, acknowledge my might.” 14 The sinners in Zion are afraid. Trembling has seized the godless ones. Who amongst us can live with the devouring fire? Who amongst us can live with everlasting burning? 15 He who walks righteously, and speaks blamelessly; he who despises the gain of oppressions, who gestures with his hands, refusing to take a bribe, who stops his ears from hearing of blood, and shuts his eyes from looking at evil— 16 he will dwell on high. His place of defense will be the fortress of rocks. His bread will be supplied. His waters will be sure. 17 Your eyes will see the king in his beauty. They will see a distant land. 18 Your heart will meditate on the terror. Where is he who counted? Where is he who weighed? Where is he who counted the towers? 19 You will no longer see the fierce people, a people of a deep speech that you can’t comprehend, with a strange language that you can’t understand. 20 Look at Zion, the city of our appointed festivals. Your eyes will see Jerusalem, a quiet habitation, a tent that won’t be removed. Its stakes will never be plucked up, nor will any of its cords be broken. 21 But there the LORD will be with us in majesty, a place of wide rivers and streams, in which no galley with oars will go, neither will any gallant ship pass by there. 22 For the LORD is our judge. The LORD is our lawgiver. The LORD is our king. He will save us. 23 Your rigging is untied. They couldn’t strengthen the foot of their mast. They couldn’t spread the sail. Then the prey of a great plunder was divided. The lame took the prey. 24 The inhabitant won’t say, “I am sick.” The people who dwell therein will be forgiven their iniquity.

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1-14

Here we have the proud and false destroyer justly reckoned with for all his fraud and violence. The righteous God often pays sinners in their own coin. Those who by faith humbly wait for God, shall find him gracious to them; as the day, so let the strength be. If God leaves us to ourselves any morning, we are undone; we must every morning commit ourselves to him, and go forth in his strength to do the work of the day. When God arises, his enemies are scattered. True wisdom and knowledge lead to strength of salvation, which renders us stedfast in the ways of God; and true piety is the only treasure which can never be plundered or spent. The distress Jerusalem was brought into, is described. God’s time to appear for his people, is, when all other helpers fail. Let all who hear what God has done, acknowledge that he can do every thing. Sinners in Zion will have much to answer for, above other sinners. And those that rebel against the commands of the word, cannot take its comforts in time of need. His wrath will burn those everlastingly who make themselves fuel for it. It is a fire that shall never be quenched, nor ever go out of itself; it is the wrath of an ever-living God preying on the conscience of a never-dying soul.

Verses 15-24

The true believer watches against all occasions of sin. The Divine power will keep him safe, and his faith in that power will keep him easy. He shall want nothing needful for him. Every blessing of salvation is freely bestowed on all that ask with humble, believing prayer; and the believer is safe in time and for ever. Those that walk uprightly shall not only have bread given, and their water sure, but they shall, by faith, see the King of kings in his beauty, the beauty of holiness. The remembrance of the terror they were in, shall add to the pleasure of their deliverance. It is desirable to be quiet in our own houses, but much more so to be quiet in God’s house; and in every age Christ will have a seed to serve him. Jerusalem had no large river running by it, but the presence and power of God make up all wants. We have all in God, all we need, or can desire. By faith we take Christ for our Prince and Saviour; he reigns over his redeemed people. All that refuse to have Him to reign over them, make shipwreck of their souls. Sickness is taken away in mercy, when the fruit of it is the taking away of sin. If iniquity be taken away, we have little reason to complain of outward affliction. This last verse leads our thoughts, not only to the most glorious state of the gospel church on earth, but to heaven, where no sickness or trouble can enter. He that blotteth out our transgressions, will heal our souls.

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