O Lord, Be Gracious to Us
33 Ah, you destroyer,
who yourself have not been destroyed,
whom none has betrayed!
When you have ceased to destroy,
you will be destroyed;
and when you have finished betraying,
they will betray you.
O LORD, be gracious to us; we wait for you.
Be our arm every morning,
our salvation in the time of trouble.
At the tumultuous noise peoples flee;
when you lift yourself up, nations are scattered,
and your spoil is gathered as the caterpillar gathers;
as locusts leap, it is leapt upon.
The LORD is exalted, for he dwells on high;
he will fill Zion with justice and righteousness,
and he will be the stability of your times,
abundance of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge;
the fear of the LORD is Zion’s treasure.
Behold, their heroes cry in the streets;
the envoys of peace weep bitterly.
The highways lie waste;
the traveler ceases.
Covenants are broken;
cities are despised;
there is no regard for man.
The land mourns and languishes;
Lebanon is confounded and withers away;
Sharon is like a desert,
and Bashan and Carmel shake off their leaves.
“Now I will arise,” says the LORD,
“now I will lift myself up;
now I will be exalted.
You conceive chaff; you give birth to stubble;
your breath is a fire that will consume you.
And the peoples will be as if burned to lime,
like thorns cut down, that are burned in the fire.”
Hear, you who are far off, what I have done;
and you who are near, acknowledge my might.
The sinners in Zion are afraid;
trembling has seized the godless:
“Who among us can dwell with the consuming fire?
Who among us can dwell with everlasting burnings?”
He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly,
who despises the gain of oppressions,
who shakes his hands, lest they hold a bribe,
who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed
and shuts his eyes from looking on evil,
he will dwell on the heights;
his place of defense will be the fortresses of rocks;
his bread will be given him; his water will be sure.
Your eyes will behold the king in his beauty;
they will see a land that stretches afar.
Your heart will muse on the terror:
“Where is he who counted, where is he who weighed the tribute?
Where is he who counted the towers?”
You will see no more the insolent people,
the people of an obscure speech that you cannot comprehend,
stammering in a tongue that you cannot understand.
Behold Zion, the city of our appointed feasts!
Your eyes will see Jerusalem,
an untroubled habitation, an immovable tent,
whose stakes will never be plucked up,
nor will any of its cords be broken.
But there the LORD in majesty will be for us
a place of broad rivers and streams,
where no galley with oars can go,
nor majestic ship can pass.
For the LORD is our judge; the LORD is our lawgiver;
the LORD is our king; he will save us.
Your cords hang loose;
they cannot hold the mast firm in its place
or keep the sail spread out.
Then prey and spoil in abundance will be divided;
even the lame will take the prey.
And no inhabitant will say, “I am sick”;
the people who dwell there will be forgiven their iniquity.
Isaiah 33 Commentary
by Hank Workman
The sting of betrayal burns deep. We’ve all experienced this on some level. Betrayal shatters trust. It brings extreme caution with someone we trusted. Betrayal is destructive and has long tentacles that reach deeply into our hearts and responses.
What if we are the betrayer?
Selfishness drives us. It’s what separates and places barriers between one another. When we operate in own wants and needs others’ feelings, desires and opinions don’t matter. We plow right through with our own agenda and leave the wreckage behind.
Our own selfishness is a form of betrayal. It’s broken promises. It’s demanding our way. It’s the unhealthy response of never apologizing and pushing onto our next flavor of the week with what we want; what we need; what we demand. It’s not looking out for the interest of others but solely relying on our own.
When we operate in selfish ways, everyone and everything pays a price. This includes the church, the Body of Christ. Our own selfishness affects ministry, outreach, and impact.
God opens with harsh words for Assyria and their ultimate betrayal – calling them a destroyer. They continually broke their promises, looked out only for themselves yet demanded others to keep their promises. They were selfishly driven and ruthless. God would be dealing with them.
As this prophecy continues, it speaks of hope to those who have been betrayed. If you are feeling the stings of such an action, there are great words of promise for you. However, maybe this would be a good time to stop and consider yourself. Are you so driven by things others fall along the wayside? Are you one who pursues only what you want that you never think of others and the result of your choices? Consider the fruit in your life at the moment, that should speak clearly. Are you a betrayer?
Isaiah 33 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
The book of Isaiah is very clear. Trust in nations; destruction. Trust in God alone; deliverance. The irony is that God would use nations to humble His people, but He would command them not to trust in the power of those nations. What He did was strip away everything they could rely on in order to draw them closer to Himself.
However, through their eventual repentance, He would provide protection and deliverance. Repentance is the key. We see it in the opening verses.
O LORD, be gracious to us; we have waited for You. Be their strength every morning, Our salvation also in the time of distress.Isaiah 33:2 NASB
This is a complete turnaround from the prior attitude. The people wanted to rush away to Egypt and hear false prophets tickle their ears. Now, they are postured to lean into the Lord with humility.
It is true that some of the largest enemies of our lives cannot truly be slain until we release them to the Lord. It’s painful, but it’s good. As we repent of those strongholds in our life, the Lord is faithful to deliver us. He is watching and waiting for our attitude to turn, so that He can use us for abundantly more.