God’s Word of Justice
Isaiah 33:1-24: Today’s reading begins with a cry for God’s help, followed by a warning about how the LORD’s power will be unleashed on sinful people. Jerusalem’s glorious future is described, and a righteous king will rule the land.
A Prayer for Help
1Our enemies are doomed! They have robbed and betrayed, although no one has robbed them or betrayed them. But their time to rob and betray will end, and they themselves will become victims of robbery and treachery.
2Lord, have mercy on us. We have put our hope in you. Protect us day by day and save us in times of trouble. 3When you fight for us, nations run away from the noise of battle. 4Their belongings are pounced upon and taken as loot.
5How great the Lord is! He rules over everything. He will fill Jerusalem with justice and integrity 6and give stability to the nation. He always protects his people and gives them wisdom and knowledge. Their greatest treasure is their reverence for the Lord.
7The brave are calling for help. The ambassadors who tried to bring about peace are crying bitterly. 8The highways are so dangerous that no one travels on them. Treaties are broken and agreements are violated. No one is respected any more. 9The land lies idle and deserted. The forests of Lebanon have withered, the fertile valley of Sharon is like a desert, and in Bashan and on Mount Carmel the leaves are falling from the trees.
The Lord Warns His Enemies
10The Lord says to the nations, “Now I will act. I will show how powerful I am. 11You make worthless plans and everything you do is useless. My spirit is like a fire that will destroy you. 12You will crumble like rocks burned to make lime, like thorns burned to ashes. 13Let everyone near and far hear what I have done and acknowledge my power.”
14The sinful people of Zion are trembling with fright. They say, “God’s judgment is like a fire that burns forever. Can any of us survive a fire like that?” 15You can survive if you say and do what is right. Don’t use your power to cheat the poor and don’t accept bribes. Don’t join with those who plan to commit murder or to do other evil things. 16Then you will be safe; you will be as secure as if in a strong fortress. You will have food to eat and water to drink.
The Glorious Future
17Once again you will see a king ruling in splendor over a land that stretches in all directions. 18Your old fears of foreign tax collectors and spies will be only a memory. 19You will no longer see any arrogant foreigners who speak a language that you can’t understand. 20Look at Zion, the city where we celebrate our religious festivals. Look at Jerusalem! What a safe place it will be to live in! It will be like a tent that is never moved, whose pegs are never pulled up and whose ropes never break. 21The Lord will show us his glory. We will live beside broad rivers and streams, but hostile ships will not sail on them. 22-23All the rigging on those ships is useless; the sails cannot be spread! We will seize all the wealth of enemy armies, and there will be so much that even the lame can get a share. The Lord himself will be our king; he will rule over us and protect us. 24No one who lives in our land will ever again complain of being sick, and all sins will be forgiven.
Today’s Key Verse: Isaiah 33:23b
The LORD himself will be our king; he will rule over us and protect us.
Why is God’s judgment compared to “a fire that burns forever” (verse 14)? What does God say people are to do in order to survive such judgment (verses 15, 16)? How is Jerusalem’s glorious future described (verses 17-24)? How do you envision what is described in these verses?
Lord God, you are my king. Reign in my heart forever. You are like a fortress, and in you I am safe and secure. All who worship and praise you are shown your glory. Thank you for your mercy and steadfast love. Amen.
Isaiah 34:1-17: God’s enemies will be punished.