THRU THE BIBLE EXPOSITION
Isaiah: Jahweh Is Salvation
Part L: God's Prediction Of The End Of Enemy Oppression With The End Of Self-Help Manipulation
A. From Judah's perspective in Isaiah's era, the threat of Assyrian invasion was terrifying, and along with this terror came a huge temptation to try to manipulate circumstances or even the Assyrian foes for self-protection.
B. However, God wanted Judah's people to trust Him instead of trying to handle the Assyrian threat themselves, and Isaiah 33:1-12 offers a lesson on this matter with application for us in our era today (as follows):
II. God's Prediction Of The End Of Enemy Oppression With The End Of Self-Help Manipulation.
A. God announced a judgment "Woe!" upon the Assyrians who boasted that though they plundered other nations, they were never plundered, and though they deceived other nations to their advantage, they were never thus deceived, Isaiah 33:1a; Edward J. Young, The Book of Isaiah, 1974, vol. II, p. 404.
B. The divine "Woe!" arose because when the Assyrians had finished the spoiling that God determined they would spoil, they would be spoiled, and when they had completed the deceiving that God determined they would deceive, they themselves would be deceived to their harm, Isaiah 33:1b; Ibid., p. 404-405. In other words, Judah needed to realize that her dreaded foe was completely vulnerable to her Sovereign Lord!
C. Thus, Isaiah 33:2-6 addresses Judah's godly remnant in view of their Lord's sure coming judgment on Assyria:
1. Isaiah voiced a prayer on behalf of Judah's godly remnant, asking the Lord to favor them by being their strength, or "arm," and their deliverance in their time of distress, Isaiah 33:2.
2. The godly trusted that God would scatter their foes, that the plunder the Assyrians took from others would be taken from them fully and irreversibly, Isaiah 33:3-4; B. K. C., O. T., p. 1083.
3. Isaiah then addressed the godly remnant, telling them that the exalted Lord would fill Zion with justice and righteousness, security, wisdom and knowledge, but that the godly must revere the Lord to enjoy these blessings in their own lives, Isaiah 33:5-6; Ibid.
D. However, the current dire plight of Judah's people was due in part to their futile effort to handle Assyria by human manipulation as described in Isaiah 33:7-9 (as follows):
1. King Hezekiah's ambassadors from Jerusalem to Assyria who sought peace from Assyria by human effort versus trusting in the Lord were crying bitterly over the failure of their mission, for Assyria's king Sennacherib had deceived them, breaking his initial promise not to attack them if they paid him a huge tribute in silver and gold, Isaiah 33:7 with 2 Kings 18:13-20; Ibid., Young, p. 411.
2. Consequently, the people in Judah feared Assyrian abuses due to their disrespect for Judah's leaders, so they were afraid to travel outside their city walls, leaving Judah's highways deserted, Isaiah 33:8.
3. All the people of the countryside, personified in the regional realms of Lebanon, Sharon, Bashan and Carmel, were in a state of dread so that the countryside looked utterly lifeless, Isa. 33:9; Ibid., p. 412-413.
E. With Judah out of human options on handling Assyria, the Lord Himself asserted that He would arise at this time of great need among His people, that He would be exalted and lift Himself up in glory, Isaiah 33:10.
F. God then addressed Judah's Assyrian foes, claiming that though they were full of plans to destroy and to plunder, those plans were but chaff that would produce nothing but stubble, Isaiah 33:11a. Even the very breath of the Assyrians by which they would pant out threats of destruction on Judah would itself cause its own destruction of the Assyrians, Isaiah 33:11b; Ibid., p. 414.
G. Referring to the Assyrians as a group of "peoples," Isaiah predicted they would be burnings "as strong and bright as the burnings of lime" to express "the completeness of their annihilation," Isaiah 33:12a; Ibid., p. 415.
H. In addition, they would lose their power, being burned up like vulnerable thorns that are cut up and dry and highly flammable, readily consumed for having opposed a Sovereign Lord, Isaiah 33:12b; Ibid.
Lesson: Though the dreaded Assyrians were humanly unstoppable in plundering and deceiving the nations, resulting in great oppression for others, Judah's Sovereign God would utterly destroy this foe and relieve and bless the godly in Judah who ceased trying to manipulate their way out of trouble, but who put their trust in the Lord.
Application: If we are oppressed by a seemingly unstoppable, oppressive foe who takes constant advantage of others and who relentlessly deceives others for personal gain to the harm of others, we must not try to manipulate our way out of trouble with them, but trust the Sovereign Lord to deal fully with them and to bless us.