TWO RESULTS OF WITNESSING GOD’S JUDGMENT AND DELIVERANCE
Review of the first half of Chapter 33:
When God springs into action, the destroyer is destroyed and God’s people are delivered.
I. (:1-6) First Movement: Judgment and Deliverance – Woe #6 – last one; climactic
– Judgment pronounced against both destructive and treacherous behavior
– Deliverance prayed for – we need God’s grace to persevere each day
– Dynamic Judgment effects – Dispersal and Looting of the Wicked Nations
– Dynamic Deliverance effects – Exaltation of the Lord in Jerusalem
II. (:7-12) Second Movement
– Desperate times cry for divine intervention
– Deliverance associated with the exaltation of God – “I will arise” theme
– Judgment executed in the last days (:11-12)
– Near term: Threat of Assyria in Isaiah’s day
– Eschatological: Day of the Lord scenario
– Application to the church today
Today’s passage = second half of Chapter 33:
TWO RESULTS OF WITNESSING GOD’S JUDGMENT AND DELIVERANCE
In absolute terms, there are two types of authorities and two responses to authority:
– Types: Authorities in the extreme sense are either good or bad
o The Messiah-King will prove to be the perfect authority
– Responses: Our response to authority is either one of submission or rebellion
o If we respond properly, we will enjoy fellowship and experience God’s blessing
I. (:13-16) RESULT #1 = FELLOWSHIP WITH THE HOLY OMNIPOTENT GOD
A. (:13-14) Fear Associated with Fellowship with the Holy Omnipotent God of Awesome Judgment
1. Seeing God For Who He Is – God Realization
Transition verse … but linked to vs. 14 by Chiastic structure: A B B A
“You who are far away, hear what I have done;
And you who are near, acknowledge My might.
Sinners in Zion are terrified;
Trembling has seized the godless.”
Those who are far away = the godless = the Gentile nations
Those who are near = Sinners in Zion = the Jews
People tend to be consumed with what they have done (message for world leaders today like Putin) – God commands us to look away from self and look at His works and power – demonstrated in His judgments and deliverance
Cf. how we used to wrestle as kids … make the other person say “Uncle” – yield to my superiority – God says, Yield to my superiority
The fear of the Lord should be the starting point for wisdom; can’t come to understand God rightly without this mindset of fearing Him – not some cuddly, casual friendship relationship pictured here – these sinners must be brought to the point where they fear God
Stedman: When Jews in Jerusalem saw 185,000 Assyrian soldiers slain by God in one night, they realized anew that the God of Israel was “a consuming fire” (Isa. 10:17; Heb. 12:29). Were they even safe in Jerusalem? . . . Many religious people in Jerusalem had hearts far from God because their religion was only a matter of eternal ceremonies (Isa. 29:13). Isaiah hoped that the miracle deliverance of the city would bring these people to a place of true devotion to the Lord. It is only as we walk with the Lord that we have real security and satisfaction.
2. Seeing Self For Who You Really Are – Self Realization
“Who among us can live with the consuming fire?
Who among us can live with continual burning?”
Ironside: The questions of verse 14 have, I think, often been misunderstood. The prophet is not speaking here of that which Scripture clearly teaches elsewhere, namely, the everlasting punishment of the finally impenitent. The “everlasting burnings” are not the fires of hell but the holiness of God, before which no unrighteous man can stand, whatever his pretensions to piety may be. The verses that follow give the answer to the passage. “Our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:29). They only can abide before Him who have judged themselves in His holy presence and are seeking now to walk before Him in truth and uprightness.
B. (:15) Fruit Consistent with Fellowship with the Holy Omnipotent God of Righteous Living
1 Positive and 2 Negative requirements: (cf. requirements of Psalm 15 and 24)
1. Embraces Righteousness and Sincerity
“He who walks righteously, — Deeds
and speaks with sincerity,” — Words
Not the type of answer we would have given —
Brian Borgman: this would not be the answer we would give – we would say those who have faith in the Lord; list of ethical dos and don’ts; not teaching that you are made right with God by merit or works; often in the Scriptures no distinction made between fruit and the root – between faith and the works it produces; describing a person who has been changed and made righteous by faith in God; a true faith is a works-producing faith; cf. Romans 2; James 2; Faith alone saves but the faith that saves is never alone; Read 1 John – keep His commandments and love the brethren = Love and Obedience; imputed righteousness leads to ethical righteousness;
2. Rejects Corruption
“He who rejects unjust gain,
And shakes his hands so that they hold no bribe;”
Lots of opportunity for corruption and graft and greed
Young: When others press into his hands the gain acquired from oppression he shakes his hands so that the gain falls to the ground. His action represents an indignant refusal of all such gain and money.
3. Avoids Malice
“He who stops his ears from hearing about bloodshed,
And shuts his eyes from looking upon evil;”
Not talking about being an ostrich and looking the other way; not putting your head in the sand and not addressing wickedness; don’t embrace or be a participant in activities that would harm others
Parunak: The last three lines recall the three monkeys, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_wise_monkeys, depicted on the stable of the Tosho-Gu shrine in Nikko, Japan (“hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil”). The earliest date for the oriental saying (which also included the hands, “do no evil”) is AD 800 in China, so Isaiah may in fact be the origin for this saying, which may have come in with Christian missionaries, who were in China before the 7th century (as shown by the Nestorian Stele), or Jews, who were there even earlier.
Young: His organs of receptivity, the eyes, the ears, and the hands, are not at the service of evil; and his organs of activity, the tongue and feet, likewise will have no part therein. The man who is to inhabit high places wishes that none of his members be yielded as instruments of unrighteousness.
C. (:16) Favor Resulting From Fellowship with the Holy Omnipotent God of All Sufficient Protection and Provision
1. All Sufficient Protection
“He will dwell on the heights;
His refuge will be the impregnable rock;”
This is actually the boast of the arrogant
Problem with being in such an inaccessible location: Where will you get your provisions? You might be protected from the enemy, but what about provisions??
2. All Sufficient Provision
“His bread will be given him;
His water will be sure.”
Everything comes as a gift from God’s grace.
II. (:17-24) RESULT #2 = BLESSINGS FROM THE MAJESTIC MESSIAH-KING
A. (:17-19) Blessing of Beholding the Majestic Messiah-King
1. (:17) Vision of the Excellencies of the Messiah-King
“Your eyes will see the King in His beauty;
They will behold a far-distant land.”
Do we take time to meditate upon the beauties of our King? Study His attributes; His names;
Study prophecy to bring near to you those events that are yet future
Beall: The reference here is to the fact that Judah will not simply be a small territory (as she was in the days of Sennacherib), but a vast land, occupying the territory promised to Abraham and his descendants (see Isa 26:15). This will happen in the Millennium.
2. (:18-19) Relief From Terrifying, Savage Oppressors
“Your heart will meditate on terror: ‘Where is he who counts? Where is he who
weighs? Where is he who counts the towers?’
You will no longer see a fierce people, A people of unintelligible speech which no
one comprehends, Of a stammering tongue which no one understands.”
New Living Translation: You will think back to this time of terror, asking, “Where are the Assyrian officers who counted our towers? Where are the bookkeepers who recorded the plunder taken from our fallen city?”
Pulpit Commentary: Where now are the Assyrian officials – the scribe, who registered the amount of the tribute and booty; the receiver, who weighed the gold and silver carefully in a balance; and the engineer officer who surveyed the place to be besieged, estimated its strength, and counted its towers? All have perished or have fled away in dismay.
Constable: There will be no fear there of enemy officials who noted things down, weighed things out, and assessed Israel’s strength by taking inventories. Neither will there be terror caused by invading armies that used incomprehensible speech (cf. 28:11, 19). Foreign tax collectors who spoke an alien language may also be in view. These were all fears that the Judeans had when the Assyrians invaded.
Beall: There would no longer be the presence of an enemy in their midst. As v. 19 states, no longer would Judah see a barbarous (the word is a hapax, but probably means something like this) people, of unintelligible speech which no one understands (see Isa 28:11; 36:11; Jer 5:15).
B. (:20-22) Blessing of Boasting in the Majestic Messiah-King
Parunak: Isaiah alternates between the vision of the secure city and its glorious king.
1. (:20) Boasting in His Permanent Presence
“Look upon Zion, the city of our appointed feasts;
Your eyes shall see Jerusalem an undisturbed habitation, a tent which shall not be folded,
Its stakes shall never be pulled up nor any of its cords be torn apart.”
Oswalt: Perhaps there were two factors in the prophet’s choice of images. One might have been the idea of the tabernacle in the wilderness. The tabernacle was the place where God was, the place where he could be met. During the wandering of the Hebrew people the tabernacle – and in one sense, God – was continually moving with the people. Now God would no longer move. He would come in the last days to a permanent rest.
The other aspect of the tent imagery is also in the disparity of something designed for mobility never moving. The traveler has truly come home when it can be said that he will never strike his tent again. So here the wanderers will have found that fertile valley where they can put up their tents on a permanent basis. In this life we are all in tents, and happy is the person who realizes that. But one day the tents will be pegged down forever (Heb. 11:9-10).
2. (:21) Boasting in His Protective Refuge
“But there the majestic One, the LORD, shall be for us a place of rivers
and wide canals, On which no boat with oars shall go, and on which no mighty ship shall pass—“
Pulpit Commentary: As he is “a Place to hide in” (Psalm 32:7; Psalm 119:114), so he may be “a Place of broad rivers,” full, i.e. of refreshment and spiritual blessing. Wherein shall go no galley. The river of God’s grace, which “makes glad the city of God, “shall bear no enemy on its surface, allow no invader to cross it.”
New Living Translation: The LORD will be our Mighty One. He will be like a wide river of protection that no enemy can cross, that no enemy ship can sail upon.
Gill: Egypt had its Nile, and Babylon its Euphrates, but Jerusalem had no such river for its convenience, commerce, and defense; but God promises to be that to his Jerusalem, his church and people
Motyer: (:21-23) can be divided up as follows:
A1 The presence of the Lord in power (21a)
B1 Much water, absence of shipping (21b-d)
A2 The presence of the Lord as king (22)
B2 Inadequate shipping, abundant spoil (23)
3. (:22) Boasting in His Governing Sovereignty – Key Summary Verse
a. Judicial Sovereignty
“For the LORD is our judge,”
Who decides right and wrong for you?
b. Legislative Sovereignty
“The LORD is our lawgiver,”
Who tells you what you can and can’t do?
c. Executive Sovereignty
“The LORD is our king;”
Who rules over you and commands your allegiance?
d. National Sovereignty
“He will save us—“
Whom do you look to for deliverance?
Parunak: This is the third reference to the Lord, after vv. 17, 21, and the most intimate. Now we not only behold his beauty (17) and possess his majesty (21), but enjoy the deliverance that comes from having him in control. We noted at the end of ch. 12 that the pinnacle of our joy comes when “the holy one of Israel” is “in the midst of thee.” The promise of Isaiah’s great vision is not just that the Lord will come and establish his rule, but that we will see him (v. 17), he will be ours (v. 21), he will save us (22).
Constable: Messiah will be the Judge (leader and governor), lawgiver (legislator and chief), and (permanent) ruler of His people. He will be the head of all branches of government—judicial, legislative, and executive. He will provide deliverance in every situation.
This verse, which is a climax to chapters 28—33, was the basis for the Mayflower Compact, the covenant that the Pilgrims made when they left England for America in A.D. 1620. It was also the basis for the government of the United States, which had its roots in the Mayflower Compact.
Beall: The reason for the people’s confidence that no one will attack is made clear in v. 22, a verse which also provides a climax to the entire section (chaps. 28-33), and indeed the whole book. (It is a mistake to put this verse in parentheses, as NKJV does–it is an integral part of the thought process of these verses). Jerusalem will be safe from attack, because the Lord is the people’s judge (or deliverer, as in the period of the judges; but the word also refers to righteous judgment, which will be characteristic of the Millennial reign of Christ); He is also their lawgiver (who establishes just laws; see also the prophecy of Gen 49:10); He is their King. Indeed, He is the One Who will save His people. This is the message of the entire book. In chaps 28-33 the issue had been whether the people could trust God to save them, or whether they had to go somewhere else. This verse provides the answer. Through the righteous ruler, the Lord Jesus Christ, there would be both salvation and justice.
C. (:23-24) Blessing of Benefiting From the Victory of the Majestic Messiah-King
1. (:23) Benefiting from the Victory of Abundant Spoils Seized by a Crippled Vessel
“Your tackle hangs slack; It cannot hold the base of its mast firmly, Nor spread out the sail.
Then the prey of an abundant spoil will be divided; The lame will take the plunder.”
Could be a reference to Assyria:
Constable: The enemy of Israel, represented here as a disabled ship, would not be able to overcome other cities or pursue trade by normal means.
Could be a reference to the limitations of God’s people:
MacArthur: In her own strength, Jerusalem is as helpless to defend herself as a ship deprived of its ropes and pulleys, that cannot sail.
Motyer: As a “ship of state” Zion is crippled – rigging loose, mast unstopped, sails unhoisted – yet this limping hulk takes the spoil! The victory has been won by another on its behalf. Spoils are the fruits of a conquest already past.
2. (:24) Benefiting from the Victory of Physical and Spiritual Healing for All Kingdom Residents
“And no resident will say, ‘I am sick’;
The people who dwell there will be forgiven their iniquity.”
Beall: Ultimately, in Isaiah’s day and ours, the security and peace of a nation rests not in its military might or its alliances with other nations, but in this one fact: whether their people’s sins are forgiven by a holy God. Spiritual salvation is the key to the strength of a nation.
Fellowship and Blessing – what tremendous incentive to respond properly to the lessons God gives us from history of His judgments and His deliverance – lessons that will be reinforced with His future fulfillment of all the prophecies culminating in the millennial reign of the coming Messiah-King – the one who is our judge, our lawgiver, our King! Let’s appreciate our Savior today!