Today's lesson covers a woe against evil doers, a prayer for grace, and God's answer to that prayer.
Isaiah Chapter 33
Lessons from the text
God's Promise of Grace
This chapter contains a hard truth to swallow. Isaiah appeals to God for grace to alleviate the suffering of his people. God's response is a description of two ends—an everlasting fire for the wicked and a dwelling place on high for the righteous. In other words, God answers Isaiah's prayer with the promise of a heaven and a hell.
Why is this a promise of good?
The wicked will be caste away. With them gone, so too goes away suffering, betrayal, manipulation, etc. God will be able to pour forth one hundred percent of His blessings because He will have no need to be passing judgment on sinners. No more wars. No more hatred. Only peace.
Hell, while a torture for the wicked, is a promise of good for the righteous. Knowing that all wickedness will be removed is a relieving promise. Don't we all long for a place free from evil?
In an odd way, God's promise of hell for the wicked is a direct answer to Isaiah's prayer for grace: God will extend so much grace that we will be blessed with a place free from all evil.
Verse by Verse Commentary
1 God will punish those who do evil with the very thing they practice. Like an untamed serpent, evil turns around and bites whoever tries to handle it.
2-9 Isaiah gives us a pattern for a prayer of grace. In the prayer he:
God already knows what one has to pray about before one even prays (Mt 6:8), but when one prays in the right mind-set with the right humility, God is far more likely to answer. Remember to be honest with the need, praise God, appeal to His character as to why He wants to answer the request, and ask for an answer.
11-16 Everyone who is evil will be destroyed by their own doings. God will be exalted by exposing the wicked for what they are and bringing them to justice, ultimately sending them to a devouring, everlasting fire. The wicked, blinded by their own decisions, will be surprised by God's judgment. When one sees where one really stands with God, fear should grip one's heart.
Those who despise evil, however, have no need to be afraid of God's judgment. They will live in safety and will have confidence that they will have all of their needs met. These verses reveal a clear picture of heaven and hell. The righteous will dwell on high while the wicked are stuck in an everlasting fire. These verses also make it clear that there will be some Jews in hell.
17-18 In heaven, one will be surrounded by the beauty of God and be able to clearly see everything that is around. However, teachers of the law (the Scribes, Pharisees, and other religious leaders) will not be found. With fear, one will realize that those particular teachers, though being able to instruct others in the God's word, were lost. Whatever one's earthly position, it is not enough to secure one's salvation. One must have faith in Jesus Christ.
19 In heaven one shall know as one is known (I Cor 13:12). Everyone will be blessed with complete knowledge and understanding.
20 Jerusalem will be established as a peaceful city that no one can destroy. This is rightfully understood as the New Jerusalem of Revelation 21 as the present day Jerusalem was destroyed by the Babylonians and will suffer damage in the end-time wars.
21-22 The Lord Himself is one's rest and life-giving water. In Him in truth, righteousness, and salvation.
23-24 In this New Jerusalem no one will be sin-sick—all will be forgiven. The weak and helpless will have all the goods while the "gallant ships," or those who have power right now, will have no strength. As the earlier verses reveal, all the wicked will be caste into everlasting fire leaving the righteous to inherit all the earth.
Thank you for your faithfulness in studying God's word.
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