17 Your eyes will see a king in his beauty; they will see a far away land. 18 Your heart will deliberate on an awesome thought: “Where is that Scribe? Where is that one who weighed this out? Where that one who counted these towers?” 19 You will not see a rude people, a people whose language is too hard to speak and listen to, whose blabbering tongue cannot be mastered. 20 Look at Zion, the city of our appointed feasts! Your eyes will see Jerusalem, an undisturbed settlement, a tent that is not loaded for transport. No one will ever pull out its tent pegs, and none of its ropes will be torn in two. 21 Instead, there Yahveh will be mighty for us, a place of rivers, streams many hand widths wide; yet a galley ship with an oar cannot go in it, and a mighty ship cannot pass through it. 22 Because of Yahveh our judge; Yahveh our lawgiver. Yahveh our king; he will save us. 23 Your riggings hang slack; they do not hold the base of their mast firm, they do not spread out a sail. Then an abundant prey of spoil will be divided; a lame one will take plunder. 24 And no inhabitant will say, “I am sick”; the people who live in it, their iniquity will be taken away.
a forgiven city
Isaiah describes the joy of the inhabitants of Jerusalem upon discovering that the Assyrian threat has been miraculously stopped by God. Donald Flemming describes this section:
“With the besieging armies gone, the people will look out on the open fields again. They will cheer their king as he appears before them in his royal robes (17). No longer will they hear the foreign language of the Assyrian generals who took the Judeans’ money and then betrayed them (18-19). People will flock to Jerusalem for the feasts and festivals as in former days (20). Jerusalem will be safe, like a city on the edge of a broad river where no enemy warships approach and therefore no one needs to prepare any ships for battle. The city, by God’s forgiving mercy, will be a place of good health and ample provision (21-24).”
Such is the picture our hearts need to meditate on today: a portrait of a city on the brink of destruction, rescued by the grace of Almighty God. Can you imagine that awesome sight? I’m not asking you to imagine some distant cloud in heaven. I want you to see a city, redeemed and restored to its intended perfection. Trust the LORD to do this for your city, your town. Believe that he is mighty enough to bring about restoration, health and wholeness. Now, go out and be an instrument he can use to do just that. You, be a judge, lawgiver or leader that the LORD can use to restore his rule.
Jesus is returning to set up his eternal rule on this planet. There is no doubt about that. The question for you and me is whether we will allow him to use us to begin restoring the fallen cities today.
LORD, we imagine an awesome thing – a forgiven city. Make us instruments of your divine restoration.
 Flemming, Donald C. “Commentary on Isaiah 33:1”. “Bridgeway Bible Commentary”. http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bbc/view.cgi?bk=22&ch=33. 2005.