"Woe to thee that spoilest, and thou wast not spoiled; and dealest treacherously, and they dealt not treacherously with thee! when thou shalt cease to spoil, thou shalt be spoiled; and when thou shalt make an end to deal treacherously, they shall deal treacherously with thee. O LORD, be gracious unto us; we have waited for thee: be thou their arm every morning, our salvation also in the time of trouble. At the noise of the tumult the people fled; at the lifting up of thyself the nations were scattered. And your spoil shall be gathered like the gathering of the caterpiller: as the running to and fro of locusts shall he run upon them." (Isaiah 33:1-4)
The exact identity of the spoiler is difficult to pinpoint. Perhaps the Lord is referring to the ungodly citizens of Judah who scorned the rebukes of the prophets while persisting in their oppression and perversity. Perhaps God is pronouncing judgment against the Assyrians who were not known for their fidelity. The remaining three chapters are focused on the end times leading up to the millennial kingdom. In light of this, could God be referring to the enemies of Israel who will persecute her in the last days? This is certainly a possibility. Regardless, the days of the wicked man are numbered.
In the middle of trouble, whether it be the imminent invasion of Assyria or the future persecution of the antichrist, Isaiah calls upon God for unmerited favor. Apart from drawing close to God's grace, no man will be victorious. In the Hebrew text, the phrase we have waited for thee is emphatic. It reads, "For Thee have we waited (intently)." The chaos and confusion brought about by man's reasoning can be overwhelming; but there is something liberating about waiting upon God. Isaiah petitions the Lord to be the arm of strength and source of salvation for every God-fearing man.
Whether it be the Lord's anger against the Assyrians or His final victory over Satan's followers, the principles remain the same. There is no match for the awesome power of God. Years of military preparation on Assyria's part were completely overwhelmed by a single move of the Lord's Angel.
The locusts swarms of the middle east move in waves of destruction. Behind them, nothing green remains. The final end of God's enemies will be as the green tree which is devoured by the hordes of locusts. Concerning the plundering of Israel's enemies in the days of Jesus' second coming, Zechariah wrote, "And Judah also shall fight at Jerusalem; and the wealth of all the heathen round about shall be gathered together, gold, and silver, and apparel, in great abundance (Zechariah 14:14)."