Friday, June 01, 2007

Isaiah 33 (NASB)

I must admit I have not been reading and meditating much on God's word lately. I made myself do so today and the reading was on Isaiah 33. The chapter relates to what happened in Isaiah 32, the distress suffered by Judah and Jerusalem by the invasion of Sennacherib.

It can be divided into these sections:

I. "Woe to you" (v.1-4)
1 Woe to you, O destroyer,
While you were not destroyed;
And he who is treacherous,
while others did not deal treacherously with him.
As soon as you finish destroying,
you will be destroyed;
As soon as you cease to deal treacherously,
others will deal treacherously with you.
2 O LORD, be gracious to us; we have waited for You.
Be their strength every morning,
Our salvation also in the time of distress.
3 At the sound of the tumult peoples flee;
At the lifting up of Yourself nations disperse.
4 Your spoil is gathered as the caterpillar gathers;
As locusts rushing about men rush about on it.

II. The mercy and power of God (v.5-6)
5 The LORD is exalted, for He dwells on high;
He has filled Zion with justice and righteousness.
6 And He will be the stability of your times,
A wealth of salvation, wisdom and knowledge;
The fear of the LORD is his treasure.

III. Distress and despair (v.7-9)
7 Behold, their brave men cry in the streets,
The ambassadors of peace weep bitterly.
8 The highways are desolate, the traveler has ceased,
He has broken the covenant, he has despised the cities,
He has no regard for man.
9 The land mourns and pines away,
Lebanon is shamed and withers;
Sharon is like a desert plain,
And Bashan and Carmel lose their foliage.

IV. Promise of deliverance (v.10-13)
10 "Now I will arise," says the LORD,
"Now I will be exalted, now I will be lifted up.
11 "You have conceived chaff, you will give birth to stubble;
My breath will consume you like a fire.
12 "The peoples will be burned to lime,
Like cut thorns which are burned in the fire.
13 "You who are far away, hear what I have done;
And you who are near, acknowledge My might."

V. Apprehension of the wicked (v.14-19)
14 Sinners in Zion are terrified;
Trembling has seized the godless.
"Who among us can live with the consuming fire?
Who among us can live with continual burning?"
15 He who walks righteously and speaks with sincerity,
He who rejects unjust gain
And shakes his hands so that they hold no bribe;
He who stops his ears from hearing about bloodshed
And shuts his eyes from looking upon evil;
16 He will dwell on the heights,
His refuge will be the impregnable rock;
His bread will be given him,
His water will be sure.
17 Your eyes will see the King in His beauty;
They will behold a far-distant land.

18 Your heart will meditate on terror:
"Where is he who counts? Where is he who weighs?
Where is he who counts the towers?"

19 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.

V. The righteous is secure (v.20-24)
20 Look upon Zion, the city of our appointed feasts;
Your eyes will see Jerusalem, an undisturbed habitation,
A tent which will not be folded;
Its stakes will never be pulled up,
Nor any of its cords be torn apart.
21 But there the majestic One, the LORD, will be for us
A place of rivers and wide canals
On which no boat with oars will go,
And on which no mighty ship will pass--
22 For the LORD is our judge,

The LORD is our lawgiver,
The LORD is our king;
He will save us--
23 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.
24 And no resident will say, "I am sick";
The people who dwell there will be forgiven their iniquity.

What caught my eye was v.6: And He will be the stability of your times, A wealth of salvation, wisdom and knowledge; The fear of the LORD is his treasure.

This is certainly God's promise to us. He is our stability no matter how violently our world rocks. He is our foundation, our salvation, our wisdom and our knowledge. What is required of us is fear. To fear God is to give him reverence, obedience, worship, adoration and submission. And indeed, the fear of the Lord is our treasure.

Picture by Adrian Yee

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