Just before hurricane season in 1715, the Spanish government filled eleven ships with gold, silver, and jewels. They planned to sail from Cuba to Florida, and left late in an attempt to avoid pirates and privateers. They lost this gamble, however, as a storm struck and sank all the ships. Many have been located and salvaged, but one of the richest, the San Miguel, has not been found to this day!
“If only I knew how to find it,” you might be thinking. Yet today’s passage gives the key to an even greater treasure! It begins as a prayer: “Lord, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress” (v. 2). As soon as He arrived, the victory would be won. There’s an allusion here to the words Moses said every time Israel set out with the ark of the covenant in front: “Rise up, Lord! May your enemies be scattered; may your foes flee before you” (Num. 10:35). The victory would be so thorough that it would look like the land had been stripped by locusts (Isa. 33:3–4)!
Next comes a description of the Victorious One (vv. 5–6). He is exalted and worthy to be worshiped. He fills Zion with His righteousness and justice. He is a sure foundation in unsure and unstable times. He is “a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge.” This treasure is not locked away but available. How?
“The fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure.” That is, we have access to it because of our relationship with God. The NIV’s alternative translation reads, “The fear of the Lord is a treasure from him,” essentially meaning that the treasure is God Himself.
Are you in a spiritual conflict today? Do you need the Lord to do battle on your behalf? We don’t know your specific situation, of course, but the prayer of Isaiah 33:2 can be applied in many circumstances. In any case, God’s grace and loving faithfulness are something we all desperately need at all times. Make this prayer yours today!