Archive for August 13th, 2016

Isaiah 20

Isaiah 20 has the prophet talking about the time when the army of Assyria conquered the Philistine city of Ashdod.  These were enemies of Israel, but when the city falls, it becomes a threat to God’s people who fear they are next.  The Philistines were both neighbors and thorns to Israel, so there was mixed feelings about the Assyrian victory.  God uses Isaiah to deliver a message.  And he does it in a very unique and impactful way.  “Go, and loose the sackcloth from your waist and take off your sandals from your feet, and he did so, walking naked and barefoot”.

God tells Isaiah to get naked and start walking.  Before this, Isaiah wore an outer garment of sackcloth – clothes worn when one was mourning. Now, God tells him to remove his outer garment of sackcloth, and to take his sandals off.  This doesn’t mean that Isaiah was nude.  Instead, he only wore the usual inner garment of that day – sort of like wearing only your underwear or a nightshirt.  “As my servant Isaiah has walked naked and barefoot for three years as a sign and a portent against Egypt and Cush, so shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptian captives and the Cushite exiles”.

Under the command of the Lord, Isaiah dressed in this poor and humble way for three years. It was a message God has against Egypt, because the king of Assyria would lead away the Egyptians as prisoners.  This powerhouse of a nation is going to be taken off their worldly place and put into captivity.  And as the Assyrians would took the Egyptians captive, they would humiliate them by stripping them and leading them away as prisoners.  They not only would defeat the Egyptians and make them prisoners, they would also make them ashamed by taking their clothes off.

Behold, this is what has happened to those in whom we hoped and to whom we fled for help to be delivered from the king of Assyria….how shall we escape”?  God’s people had put some trust in the Egyptians following Isaiah’s prophecy in the last chapter. they might have been tempted to say, “Well, we can trust in Egypt. They are all going to come to the Lord someday anyway!”  That’s what Isaiah prophesied.  But with the dramatic three-year sign of Isaiah walking around in his underwear, he shows Judah how vain it was to make Egypt their expectation or glory.  God alone is worthy of our praise, adoration and glory!

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