On to Isaiah 33:17-24
v17: See: Perceive, have a vision (clarity) of.
- King: Referring to Messiah.
- The land that very far off: Hebrews 11:13-16. Although this Kingdom, this land of G-d’s eternal dwelling place, may currently be far away we should have a vision of it, a perspective for it.
v18: Note: This verse deals with a future change.
- Heart: This refers to our thoughts (Prov 23:7)
- Meditate: Pay great attention to something.
- Terror: Fear. Dread
- Scribe: Those who write things down. They take note of what is happening around them.
- He who weighs: The commentators say that this is referring to those who counsel others – they weigh the words of others.
- Counts the towers: Counting the towers of the city was a way of estimating the strength of the city.
Note: All of the above people would take into consideration the battle (possibly the antichrist battle) that was about to begin. They are fearful and begin to act, to assess what they would be up against. G-d, however, is the One who is going to fight this battle. G-d does not need to scope out the enemy to see what He is up against – like us humans do.
What this passage is saying is that those who have feared in the past, those who are fearful about the future, do not need to be. G-d doesn’t need the scribes, the counsellors or the tower counters. He has this under control!
v19: Fierce: Those who are bold or brash. This is speaking of a barbarian, an enemy. We will not see those who set themselves against us (see Dan 8:23 – these fierce features refer to the antichrist in this verse)
- Obscure speech: Speech that is not easily grasped or understood.
- Stammering tongue: Those who do not communicate well.
Note: G-d does not have to size up the enemy. Nothing is too difficult for G-d. This enemy does not understand who he is going up against.
v20: Look upon: Gaze upon. See.
- Zion: The city of G-d’s Kingdom
- Appointed feasts: Festivals. These Biblical festivals (Passover, Feasts of Tabernacles, Shabbat etc) are so important in helping us to understand Kingdom reality. In Col 2:16-17 Paul tells us that these things (the festivals etc) are a shadow of the things which are to come. The substance that casts the shadow is Messiah. A kingdom is coming. We see hints of this Kingdom in the festivals (redemption, rest, etc), but the reality of this Kingdom is found in Messiah Himself. The more we understand the festivals the better we will be able to understand Messiah.
- Will not be taken down: Cannot be moved. Will not travel.
- Stakes: The pegs that are driven into a tent cord to hold it up.
- Broken: Severed. Disconnected.
v21: The majestic L-rd: This is why this Kingdom is eternal. This is why things do not change or move or get disconnected. The mighty G-d is there!
- Broad: Wide. Massive. These rivers are going to be huge. Big rivers usually have strong and powerful currents which, together with the distance, make a massive river difficult to cross.
- Majestic ships: Referring to a naval group of ships.
- Nor majestic ships pass by: G-d’s city, His Kingdom, is not going to be approachable by the enemy. Isaiah is using poetic terms to tell us that the enemy will not be strong enough to even bring an attack against it. G-d’s Kingdom, His city, will be a place where people will be safe. We will not need to fear anything in the city of G-d.
v22: Note: G-d judges us by His laws.
v23: Note: This verse is speaking about how the enemy is not going to be successful. He, and his things, are going to fail.
- Tackle: Cords. Ropes
- Strengthen their mast: Boats, in Isaiah’s day, were powered by the wind. Therefore, these boats had sails which were attached to long poles called masts. The enemy that is going to come is not going to be successful. His ropes are going to be abandoned as they are not going to be strong enough for the task. Without the ability to hoist the sails the boat is going nowhere. This is a picture of how weak the enemy is going to be. He will not be able to attack and, in fact, is going to be defeated.
- The lame take the prey (the spoils): The enemy will have a lot of things that he has plundered. However, all of this great plunder will be stripped from him and divided up. Even the lame, those who are not usually appropriate for physical battle, will be able to plunder the enemy. G-d is using a variety of ways to let us know that this enemy will not be able to defend himself, that this enemy will be defeated and ultimately able to be plundered by even the least in the battle.
v24: Note: This verse is a great promise of what is going to be a Kingdom reality. Many today preach the Kingdom promises and reality (prosperity gospel) as if they are a current reality – which they are not. We live in a sinful world – full of disease, violence and ungodliness. In this age we may not experience the promises of G-d, but in the Kingdom, G-d, who is absolutely faithful, has promised that we will.
- I am sick: Another false teaching going around today is that we should not say things like this, as, they say, that what we speak creates reality. However, in this age this is the reality for many people. People should not be shamed into keeping silent about what they are suffering (James 5:14-15). Being well will, absolutely, be a Kingdom reality (Rev 21:4).
- It: Zion
- Forgiven their iniquity: Have their iniquity removed. Neither sickness nor sin will be a reality in the Kingdom of G-d. However, both of these things are very much still a reality in this age.