The Judgment of God
Before the Assyrian invasion, this prophecy of Isaiah was spoken. In his prophecy, the unstoppable armies of Assyria will be stopped. Those who came to plunder will be plundered and those who dealt with treachery will receive the same treachery. Jesus spoke of the same principle in the Matthew. “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. “For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.” (Matthew 7:1-2)
With the coming of the Assyrians and the people’s longing for the deliverance of a righteous king they no longer looked to the Egyptians for their help. Neither did they look unto themselves for help. Now they are looking unto the Lord and crying out, “O Lord be gracious to us.” The people of God are now looking for His arm every morning to help them. Their hearts are filled with great expectation in the Lord and their prayers reflect that expectation. “Verse four may already have had an initial fulfillment after the death of the Assyrian soldiers, for undoubtedly the inhabitants of Jerusalem congregated like caterpillars around the corpses and the implements of war.” (Bultema)
As hard as the times were the people now had a better view of who God is. Because the people had been brought low they see that the Lord is exalted. Their faith in the Lord has brought them great anticipation of the Lord’s answer. They did not wait until the Lord acted but gave Him praise ahead of the time when He would act. The reverence of the people and the honor and respect was the treasure of the Lord. This is the gift that the Lord gives so that we do not cower in fear but rise up and honor Him.
When the Lord judges the earth all of mankind is affected and brought low. The brave shall cry in humility and the nation’s ambassadors of peace who trusted in other nations shall weep. Even Lebanon with its mighty forest will be shamed and shriveled.
While the earth is being brought low by the judgment of the Lord He is lifting Himself up. The judgment of the Lord will come like the fire, the wicked and their worthless works will become as chaff and stubble that is quickly burned in the fire. “To lime stresses the intensity of the blaze.” (Motyer)
The judgment of the Lord is coming and those who remain in their sin will be afraid. They were not afraid to practice their sinful ways but now that God’s judgment is coming they are afraid. Even as the sinners and hypocrites are afraid of the coming judgment of the Lord the righteous are comforted that He comes to bring justice.
The righteous will be blessed by the Lord. They will have their refuge, a place of defense, a fortress, and bread and water they will have. Greater than these material blessings they will see their King in all His beauty. In the times of Isaiah this would have been King Hezekiah but in the ultimate sense, it is the Lord Jesus the Savior. In spite of all the material blessings the splendor and comfort of Heaven, but the greatest is to be glorified and to see the King in all His beauty.
Occasionally in life, we can catch a glimpse of Jesus and even a glance of His beauty. Whatever good we can experience here in the world will be incomparable to when we see our King in all His beauty. The Apostle Paul said this of our walk through this world. “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12) Today we see Jesus in an unclear way but one day we shall see Him with perfect clarity. With all the marvel of Heaven, it is the unhindered, unrestricted presence of our Lord, the King of kings in all His beauty, which will be the greatest experience of our eternal existence.
For the child of God, the revealing of the King will be the greatest glory, but it will be the greatest terror for those who have rejected Him. The northern kingdom of Israel was destroyed by the Assyrians, who were a people of a different speech. The southern kingdom of Judah will be delivered, as a people, you will not see. Isaiah is mixing the ultimate deliverance of the Day of Judgment and the deliverance from the Assyrians.
During the threat of the Assyrians God will save Jerusalem. None of its stakes will be moved. The blessing of the Lord will bring broad rivers and streams to a once barren desert land. “This chapter, so full of compelling imagery, presents a picture of Jerusalem as a kind of Near Easter Venice or Amsterdam, or, to place it in its historical context, like the great cities of Egypt or Mesopotamia. Most great civilizations have grown up around important rivers. Israel, in general, and Jerusalem, in particular, were exceptions to this.” (Grogan)
Even as a mighty waterway would be an inroad for invading armies the Lord will protect them and no ship will pass. “Although they shall have from God the security of a great river, yet they shall be freed from the disadvantage of it; which is, that the enemies may come against them in ships; for no galleys nor ships of the enemy’s shall be able to come into this river to annoy them.” (Poole)
When God saves He does it in unexpected ways. It will be an unexpected blessing that the lame will receive the prey. It is also unexpected that people of iniquity can be forgiven. The majestic God brings majestic blessings. “They shall not only receive from me a glorious temporal deliverance; but, which is infinitely better, the pardon of all their sins, and all those spiritual and everlasting blessings which attend upon that mercy.” (Poole)