As humans we are plagued with guilt in every part of our lives.  If you are not, then you have probably grown emotional callouses that don’t feel much of anything anymore.  Either way, it is a mournful place to live.  Hope is non-existent in our guilt filled lives.  Guilty lives are lived on our own where everything depends on us.  The extent of our guilt is troubling.  Our guilt causes us to respond to others in ways that are ugly and unkind.  Our guilt drives us to fear, sarcasm and ultimately angry living.  “Do unto others BEFORE they do it to you” is the guilty ones’ mantra for life, it seems. 

Then self-loathing sets in when trying to do life on your own.  Years ago, someone very close to me, who was trying to do all the right things in life by herself, said, “I feel so guilty, I feel guilty for feeling guilty.”  Read that again.  She is right.  Guilty follows us around and consumes us—if there is no Hope in our lives. 

Isaiah tells us we have two and only two choices to make in life about who will lead us.  Isaiah describes the outcomes of living for each choice.  One choice will take over our battles, rescue, save us, give hope, extend love, mercy and grace, restore all that is broken and damaged in war, and right all wrongs made by the other choice.  The other choice is called “Destroyer”.  Destroyer is the name aptly given to the other choice, the evil one thrown out of heaven for trying to be God and take over. 

Destroyer does exactly what his name implies.  He destroys our lives with empty promises and profound lies that feed our egos of self.  Destroyer feeds our feelings of guilt with “you deserve better”.  “So, don’t feel ashamed for wanting life your way.”  Spiritual and emotional callouses form.  Guilt piles up.  Hope disappears.  Life goes sour and leaves a bitter taste in our mouths until death comes and stays. The very ground under the feet of those entranced in the Destroyer’s spell mourns and grieves for even God’s creation knows their fate.

Isaiah then tells of the benefits and outcomes of the other choice called Hope.  God’s Hope is Jesus.  Hope rescues.  Hope received and believed relieves all guilt from our being and sets us free to raise our standard of living.  Hope is ultimately and always in control.  What is this new standard of living?  Wait for it, Isaiah has the answer…    

Isaiah 33, The Message

The Ground Under Our Feet Mourns

33 Doom to you, Destroyer,
    not yet destroyed;

And doom to you, Betrayer,
    not yet betrayed.
When you finish destroying,
    your turn will come—destroyed!
When you quit betraying,
    your turn will come—betrayed!

2-4 God, treat us kindly. You’re our only hope.
    First thing in the morning, be there for us!
    When things go bad, help us out!
You spoke in thunder and everyone ran.
    You showed up and nations scattered.
Your people, for a change, got in on the loot,
    picking the field clean of the enemy spoils.

5-6 God is supremely esteemed. His center holds.
    Zion brims over with all that is just and right.
God keeps your days stable and secure—
    salvation, wisdom, and knowledge in surplus,
    and best of all, Zion’s treasure, Fear-of-God.

7-9 But look! Listen!
    Tough men weep openly.
    Peacemaking diplomats are in bitter tears.
The roads are empty—
    not a soul out on the streets.
The peace treaty is broken,
    its conditions violated,
    its signers reviled.
The very ground under our feet mourns,
    the Lebanon mountains hang their heads,
Flowering Sharon is a weed-choked gully,
    and the forests of Bashan and Carmel? Bare branches.

10-12 “Now I’m stepping in,” God says.
    “From now on, I’m taking over.

    The gloves come off. Now see how mighty I am.
There’s nothing to you.
    Pregnant with chaff, you produce straw babies;
    full of hot air, you self-destruct.
You’re good for nothing but fertilizer and fuel.
    Earth to earth—and the sooner the better.

13-14 “If you’re far away,
    get the reports on what I’ve done,
And if you’re in the neighborhood,
    pay attention to my record.
The sinners in Zion are rightly terrified;
    the godless are at their wit’s end:
‘Who among us can survive this firestorm?
    Who of us can get out of this purge with our lives?’”

15-16 The answer’s simple:
    Live right,
    speak the truth,
    despise exploitation,
    refuse bribes,
    reject violence,
    avoid evil amusements.
This is how you raise your standard of living!
    A safe and stable way to live.
    A nourishing, satisfying way to live.

God Makes All the Decisions Here

17-19 Oh, you’ll see the king—a beautiful sight!
    And you’ll take in the wide vistas of land.
In your mind you’ll go over the old terrors:
    “What happened to that Assyrian inspector who condemned and confiscated?
And the one who gouged us of taxes?
    And that cheating moneychanger?”
Gone! Out of sight forever! Their insolence
    nothing now but a fading stain on the carpet!
No more putting up with a language you can’t understand,
    no more sounds of gibberish in your ears.

20-22 Just take a look at Zion, will you?
    Centering our worship in festival feasts!
Feast your eyes on Jerusalem,
    a quiet and permanent place to live.

No more pulling up stakes and moving on,
    no more patched-together lean-tos.
Instead, God! God majestic, God himself the place
    in a country of broad rivers and streams,
But rivers blocked to invading ships,
    off-limits to predatory pirates.
For God makes all the decisions here. God is our king.
    God runs this place and he’ll keep us safe.

23 Ha! Your sails are in shreds,
    your mast wobbling,
    your hold leaking.
The plunder is free for the taking, free for all—
    for weak and strong, insiders and outsiders.

24 No one in Zion will say, “I’m sick.”
    Best of all, they’ll all live guilt-free.


The God of Hope steps in and takes over.  The godless are terrified. 

How do we survive?  Come to God through Jesus, His Son.  Then…

“The answer’s simple:
    Live right,
    speak the truth,
    despise exploitation,
    refuse bribes,
    reject violence,
    avoid evil amusements.
This is how you raise your standard of living!
    A safe and stable way to live.
    A nourishing, satisfying way to live.”

“Best of all, we live guilt-free!”


You’ve surely clarified right living through Isaiah then and now.  Thank you for saving my soul and making me whole, free to love like you love us, guilt free from past sins, all because of Jesus, our Hope and Deliverer.  Thank you, Jesus.  Thank you, God our Father.  Thank you, Holy Spirit, who lives in me to remind me I am your child, guilt free of repented sins, with help to continue to live in ways that please you.  Help me to pass on your Hope to others living in a stormy sea of guilt.

In Jesus Name, Amen

About randscallawayffm

Randy and Susan co founded Finding Focus Ministries in 2006. Their goal as former full time pastors, is to serve and provide spiritual encouragement and focus to those on the "front lines" of ministry. Extensive experience being on both sides of ministry, paid and volunteer, on the mission fields of other countries as well as the United States, helps them bring a different perspective to those who need it most. Need a lift? Call us 260 229 2276.
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