Isaiah 33:1-24

Trouble and hope

1 It will be very bad for you who destroy other nations.

No other nation has destroyed you yet.

It will be very bad for you who deceive other nations.

No other nation has deceived you yet.

But in the end, when you stop destroying,

others will destroy you.

When you stop deceiving,

other nations will deceive you.

33:1This message is for the enemies of God's people. Assyria was the strongest enemy at this time.

2 Lord, please be kind to us.

We wait for you to help us.

Make us strong every day.

Rescue us when trouble happens.

3 When they hear the noise of battle,

the nations run away.

When you go to war,

they run in every direction!

4 You nations, after the battle your valuable things will quickly disappear!

It will seem like locusts have eaten them all.

Yes, we will take it all,

like a hungry crowd of locusts.

5 The Lord is greater than all others.

He lives high above the earth.

He will cause Zion's people to do what is right and fair.

6 Whatever happens, he will cause you to be strong.

He will always keep you safe,

and he will make you wise,

so that you understand things.

Respect the Lord with fear,

and he will do all this for you.

7 Look! Our brave soldiers are calling out in the streets.

The people that we sent to make peace with our enemies are weeping.

8 The big roads are empty.

Nobody is travelling anywhere.

People spoil agreements that they have made.

They do not believe what people promise.

They do not respect anyone.

9 The land itself is dry and useless.

Lebanon's forest is dying.

Sharon has become like a desert.

The trees in Bashan and Carmel have no leaves.

33:9Lebanon had big forests of trees. Sharon was a valley where many plants grew. Now these places were very dry and the trees and plants were dying.

10 The Lord says, ‘Now I will stand up to do something.

I will show that I am great and powerful.

11 My enemies, everything that you want to do will be useless.

Your thoughts are like dry grass and straw.

Your own breath will destroy you,

like a fire that burns dry grass.

12 Your people will be like wood for the fire,

and only ashes will remain.

They will burn as easily as thorn bushes

that people cut down and throw on the fire.

13 You people who live far away,

listen to what I have done!

You people who are near,

understand that I am very strong.’

14 The sinners who live in Zion are afraid.

The people who do not respect God shake with fear.

They ask, ‘Who among us can stay alive?

This is a fire that burns everything.

Nobody can stop it from burning!’

15 But some people can still live!

Those who are honest in what they do

and fair in what they say.

Those who refuse to cheat other people

so that they can become rich.

Those who refuse to accept bribes.

Those who will not listen to murderers,

and who will not think about evil things.

16 People who are like that will live in a safe place.

Danger will not reach them among the high rocks.

They will always have food to eat,

and plenty of water to drink.

17 With your own eyes, you will see the king.

He will be great and beautiful.

You will see the land that he rules.

It will reach far and wide.

18 Then you will think about the time when you were afraid.

You will say, ‘Where is the enemy's important officer?

Where is the officer that we paid taxes to?

Where is the officer who counted our strong buildings?

They are no longer here to give us trouble!’

19 You will never see those cruel people again.

You could not understand their language.

They laughed at you with strange words.

20 Now, look at Zion, the city where we have our festivals.

Yes, you will see Jerusalem.

It will be a place that is quiet and safe.

It will be like a tent that people will never move.

They will never pull up its pegs.

They will never break its ropes.

21 The Lord will rule there as our powerful God.

Rivers and wide streams will run through it.

Our enemies will not be able to bring their ships there to attack us.

22 The Lord will keep us safe.

He is our judge, our ruler and our king.

23 At this time, your ship is not ready to go anywhere.

You have not tied the ropes.

There is nowhere to hang the sails.

But then, you will take many valuable things from your enemies.

You will share them after the battle.

Even people who cannot walk well

will carry away what they want!

24 Nobody who lives in Zion will say, ‘I am ill.’

And God will forgive their sins.