Today: [Isaiah 33] Make the God Choice Under Pressure! In this chapter Isaiah exhorts the people not to flee when no man pursues. At this time Hezekiah is ill and the city is surrounded by an invading army. Isaiah’s counsel is not to make a hasty response to a seemingly impossible situation. Have you ever felt like you were trapped with no way out of a difficult situation? Isaiah’s exhortation is to wait upon God. When we forget God in a time of trial and turn to this world’s wisdom in dealing with difficulties we often make things much worse. The promise of God in our chapter is simply that if we wait upon God He will be our salvation in every circumstance.
[Isa 33:1-24 KJV] 1 Woe to thee that spoilest, and thou [wast] not spoiled; and dealest treacherously, and they dealt not treacherously with thee! when thou shalt cease to spoil, thou shalt be spoiled; [and] when thou shalt make an end to deal treacherously, they shall deal treacherously with thee. 2 O LORD, be gracious unto us; we have waited for thee: be thou their arm every morning, our salvation also in the time of trouble. 3 At the noise of the tumult the people fled; at the lifting up of thyself the nations were scattered. 4 And your spoil shall be gathered [like] the gathering of the caterpiller: as the running to and fro of locusts shall he run upon them. 5 The LORD is exalted; for he dwelleth on high: he hath filled Zion with judgment and righteousness. 6 And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, [and] strength of salvation: the fear of the LORD [is] his treasure. 7 Behold, their valiant ones shall cry without: the ambassadors of peace shall weep bitterly. 8 The highways lie waste, the wayfaring man ceaseth: he hath broken the covenant, he hath despised the cities, he regardeth no man. 9 The earth mourneth [and] languisheth: Lebanon is ashamed [and] hewn down: Sharon is like a wilderness; and Bashan and Carmel shake off [their fruits]. 10 Now will I rise, saith the LORD; now will I be exalted; now will I lift up myself. 11 Ye shall conceive chaff, ye shall bring forth stubble: your breath, [as] fire, shall devour you. 12 And the people shall be [as] the burnings of lime: [as] thorns cut up shall they be burned in the fire.
Chapter 33 begins with Isaiah reproving the nations that have dealt treacherously with Jerusalem and the nation of Judah. It was never God’s will for the southern kingdom to make alliances with Egypt and Ethiopia but when they did and were betrayed, these nations are dealt with accordingly. Have you ever entered into a situation from a position of fair dealing, only to be taken advantage of and betrayed when you were vulnerable? Verse 2 says that the grace of God will find you in such a situation when you choose to wait upon the Lord. The verse says that God will be our salvation in a time of trouble and our strong arm every morning. Sometimes we get in situations that last day after day and each day presents a new challenge demanding us to exercise patience and fresh strength to overcome some new or ongoing threat to our lives and our happiness. What is the answer? To wait upon the Lord. We often hear this encouragement but what does it mean? It means to refuse to take matters into your own hands as though God did not exist.
Verse 3 describes the people fleeing in terror when trouble comes. Have you ever just wanted to run away? What is the alternative. Verse 5 tells us that when God is exalted that (v. 6) wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of our times. What wisdom are we talking about? The wisdom of the world? The knowledge of the world? There are think tanks, and counselors abound willing to give us their answers to our greatest needs – for a price but this wisdom is not what Isaiah speaks of:
[1Co 3:19 KJV] 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.
James speaks of the flawed wisdom that originates in man’s rationale in James 3:15-17:
[Jas 3:15-17 KJV] 15 This wisdom descendeth not from above, but [is] earthly, sensual, devilish. 16 For where envying and strife [is], there [is] confusion and every evil work. 17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, [and] easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.
When every thing around Jerusalem was in chaos, Isaiah exhorts them to wait upon the Lord. The city is besieged and the enemy is threatening ruin but Isaiah’s counsel is to wait on God. Hezekiah if you will study the history was very ill at this time so there was a void of leadership in a time of crises but Isaiah says that the course of action that leads to deliverance is to wait upon the Lord. When we take matters into our own hands we often make things much worse. Learn to get quiet and wait on the wisdom of God to manifest what happens next or what we should do next. Sometimes the course of action God directs us toward is to do nothing because the trouble that we think we are facing will evaporate of it’s own accord because God is looking out for us. Learn to wait upon the Lord.
13 Hear, ye [that are] far off, what I have done; and, ye [that are] near, acknowledge my might. 14 The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? 15 He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil; 16 He shall dwell on high: his place of defence [shall be] the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters [shall be] sure. 17 Thine eyes shall see the king in his beauty: they shall behold the land that is very far off. 18 Thine heart shall meditate terror. Where [is] the scribe? where [is] the receiver? where [is] he that counted the towers? 19 Thou shalt not see a fierce people, a people of a deeper speech than thou canst perceive; of a stammering tongue, [that thou canst] not understand. 20 Look upon Zion, the city of our solemnities: thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation, a tabernacle [that] shall not be taken down; not one of the stakes thereof shall ever be removed, neither shall any of the cords thereof be broken. 21 But there the glorious LORD [will be] unto us a place of broad rivers [and] streams; wherein shall go no galley with oars, neither shall gallant ship pass thereby. 22 For the LORD [is] our judge, the LORD [is] our lawgiver, the LORD [is] our king; he will save us. 23 Thy tacklings are loosed; they could not well strengthen their mast, they could not spread the sail: then is the prey of a great spoil divided; the lame take the prey. 24 And the inhabitant shall not say, I am sick: the people that dwell therein [shall be] forgiven [their] iniquity.
Verse 13 tells those that are far off to have a hearing ear. When we are under pressure we are far from adopting the posture of trust in God. We often complain that we can wait no longer because we are afraid. Verse 14 tells us that sinners are afraid and hypocrites are bound by fearfulness. You aren’t in sin are you? If you aren’t in sin or don’t want to be in sin then stop thinking like a sinner. Sometimes we get into fear and worry out of habit. Learn to identify where this comes from. Fear does not originate in that part of us that became a new creation in Christ. We must detach ourselves from what the New Testament calls “the old man” – the sinful nature and put our trust in God. We must choose under pressure to have the God response and not give in to our natural inclinations arising from anger, fear or insecurity. Verse 14 asks the question, “who shall survive the devouring fire?”. The answer in v. 15 is “he that walks righteously and speaks rightly”. When you are under pressure from circumstances, make the God choice. When we look to the Lord verse 20 promises us that we shall see our lives become a quiet habitation in God and that our stability (our stake) will never be removed or our cords broken. We can trust in God for this level of stability in the midst of unstable times.
The promise of the prophet Isaiah is that in putting our trust in the Father that He will become as a place of broad rivers and streams that no invading force will ever navigate to take away from us what God has given. Verse 22 reminds us that ultimately God will judge in our favor and as our king He will save us. He will save us from ourselves and He will save us from every threat. Verse 24 promises that sickness will not be in our midst and that our iniquities will be forgiven. So many health problems arise because of stress, worry and fear. There was an older gentleman who looking back on his life said “I had a lot of troubles in my life … most of them never did happen!” Learn not to borrow troubles. Learn not to create problems for yourself by preempting a difficulty that hasn’t surfaced yet. Exercise your ability to wait on God and God will be your salvation in every trial.
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