Woe to the spoiler of Jerusalem (Assyria)
Verse 1 – Woe to you who plunder, though you have not been plundered; and you who deal treacherously, though they have not dealt treacherously with you! When you cease plundering, you will be plundered; and when you make an end of dealing treacherously, they will deal treacherously with you.
The Assyrians continually broke its promises, but demanded that others keep theirs. Do you keep your promises to others? Do you make promises to God and then break them? A good characteristic of a Christian is keeping your word to others and to God. It’s called having integrity. But here, Isaiah said the nation that was plundering His people, would themselves be plundered.
Verse 2 – O Lord, be gracious to us; we have waited for You. Be their arm every morning, our Salvation also in the time of trouble.
This was the voice of the righteous remnant who were waiting on God to deliver them from their oppressor.
Verse 3 – At the noise of the tumult the people shall flee; when You lift Yourself up, the nations shall be scattered;
Verse 4 – And Your plunder shall be gathered like the gathering of the caterpillar; as the running to and fro of locusts, He shall run upon them.
Locusts are usually used to describe large destroying armies. God is victorious over Israel’s enemies.
Verse 5 – The Lord is exalted, for He dwells on high; He has filled Zion with justice and righteousness.
Verse 6 – Wisdom and knowledge will be the stability of your times, and the strength of Salvation; the fear of the Lord is His treasure.
True wisdom and knowledge comes to those who seek the Lord. That wisdom involves the fear of the Lord. That’s where His treasure is. When we recognize the honor, respect, our Lord deserves, then we worship Him in awe for who He truly is. That’s real treasure, not silver or gold.
Verse 7 – Surely their valiant ones shall cry outside, the ambassadors of peace shall weep bitterly.
Verse 8 – The highways lie waste, the wayfaring man ceases. He has broken the covenant, He has despised the cities, he regards no man. (The Assyrians broke their peace treaty 2 Kings 18:14-17)
Verse 9 – The earth mourns and languishes, Lebanon is shamed and shriveled; Sharon is like a wilderness, and Bashan and Carmel shaken off their fruits.
Lebanon was north of Israel. Sharon, the western foothills was famous for its wildflowers, as well as Bashan and Carmel, but because of conflict these areas will become bare.
Verse 10 – “Now I will arise,” says the Lord; “Now I will be exalted, now I will lift Myself up.
Verse 11 – You shall conceive chaff, you shall bring forth stubble; your breath, as fire, shall devour you.
Verse 12 – And the people shall be like the burning’s of lime; like thorns cut up they shall be burned in the fire.
In spite of the efforts of the enemy army to win a victory, they will achieve nothing productive.
Verse 13 – Hear, you who are afar off, what I have done; and you who are near, acknowledge My might.”
Verse 14 – The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness has seized the hypocrites: “Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burning’s?”
Verse 15 – He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly, he who despises the gain of oppression’s, who gestures with his hands, refusing bribes, who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed, and shuts his eyes from seeing evil:
Verse 16 – He will dwell on high; his place of defense will be a fortress of rocks; bread will be given him. His water will be sure.
These sinners realized they could not live in the presence of the Holy God, for He is like the fire that consumes evil. Isaiah makes it very clear that only those who walk righteously and speak what is right can live in God’s presence. Then Isaiah gives examples of how the righteous walk; reject gain from extortion and bribes, refuse to listen to plots of wrong actions, and shut our eyes to evil. When we dwell in God’s presence, He promises to supply our needs.
Verse 17 – Your eyes will see the King in His beauty; they will see the land that is very far off.
Verse 18 – Your heart will meditate on terror: “Where is the scribe? Where is he who weighs? Where is he who counts the towers?”
Verse 19 – You will not see a fierce people, a people of obscure speech, beyond perception of a stammering tongue that you cannot understand.
Verse 20 – Look upon Zion, the city of our appointed feast; your eyes will see Jerusalem, a quiet habitation, a tabernacle that will not be taken down; not one of its stakes will ever be removed, nor will any of its cords be broken.
Verse 21 – But there the majestic Lord will be for us. A place of broad rivers and streams, in which no galley with oars will sail, nor majestic ships pass by
Verse 22 – for the Lord is our Judge, the Lord is our Lawgiver, the Lord is our King; He will save us;
When a tent is erected, stakes are driven in the ground and then cords are attached to the tent and stakes. God says when He rules and reigns no one will ever destroy His tabernacle again. There will not be war ships that will ever come close to His precious city. God makes the laws and judges righteously in this future city.
Verse 23 – Your tackle is loosed, they could not strengthen their mast, they could not spread the sail. Then the prey of great plunder is divided; the lame take the prey.
Verse 24 – And the inhabitant will not say, “I am sick”; the people who dwell in it will be forgiven their iniquity.
Isaiah directs his speech to the Assyrians who having designed their army under the notion of a gallant ship. It represents their undone condition. They shall leave so much spoil behind, that even the lame shall gather it.
Jerusalem will have no reason to complain of any sickness or calamity. They are forgiven of all their sins.
Our God is a God of mercy and love. All through scripture we see time and time again how great that mercy is. But the greatest mercy He ever had on man-kind was when He was willing to give His only begotten Son, to die on a cross, take all the sins of the world upon Himself, and take the punishment for sin which is death, and give us forgiveness. We only have to believe and receive!