Isaiah 18-22 Isaiah has walked naked and barefoot for three years as a sign and a portent against Egypt and Cush

From Isaiah 18-22

Isaiah kneelingIsaiah continues pronouncing judgment on a series of nations through today’s chapters. In today’s passage the LORD commands Isaiah to do something strange and dramatic. Perhaps you might say revealing. If you saw someone walking down the street naked and barefoot, what would you do?

This post is part of my bible in a year series.

Passage and Comments

20 In the year that the commander in chief, who was sent by Sargon the king of Assyria, came to Ashdod and fought against it and captured it—

2 at that time the LORD spoke by Isaiah the son of Amoz, saying, “Go, and loose the sackcloth from your waist and take off your sandals from your feet,” and he did so, walking naked and barefoot. (Is 20:1–2)

So, if you saw someone walking down the street naked and barefoot what would you do?

Stare? Run away? Give him some clothes? Call the police? It certainly must have been a strange sight and a brave thing for Isaiah to do. Normally Ezekiel is the person to do things like this. The LORD gives Isaiah a reason to explain to others why he is doing this.

3 Then the LORD said, “As my servant Isaiah has walked naked and barefoot for three years as a sign and a portent against Egypt and Cush,

4 so shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptian captives and the Cushite exiles, both the young and the old, naked and barefoot, with buttocks uncovered, the nakedness of Egypt. (Is 20:3–4)

Its actually a future prediction of the punishment the LORD will inflict on Egypt and Cush.

They will be conquered by the Assyrians. They will be lead away naked and barefoot into exile. Away from their homeland.

Isaiah’s demonstration has a serious message. We should assume Isaiah does and says all this in Judah, probably Jerusalem. For what reason? Why would they care?

5 Then they shall be dismayed and ashamed because of Cush their hope and of Egypt their boast. 6 And the inhabitants of this coastland will say in that day, ‘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! And we, how shall we escape?’ ” (Is 20:5–6)

It seems Egypt and Cush were Judah’s hope and boast. They looked to them for protection from Assyria. If they are hoping and boasting in Egypt and Cush for these protection they are not looking at the LORD.

Isaiah has exposed butt naked and barefoot their false hope and empty boasting.

Where do your hopes lie when you see trouble brewing? Who do you boast in?

Story of Israel

Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.

Assyria came in and conquered Egypt and Cush. Assyria will then conquer Israel. Judah did not learn from all these examples and still persisted rejecting the LORD. Ultimately many of them were either killed or led out of the promised land in the same way.

Story of Jesus

In the New Testament there are many instances where people hope and boast in the wrong things. Not all boasting is bad, but not all is good either.

Jesus died for our sins and rose again to new life, proving himself to be the promised Christ.

Many Jews struggled to believe that the promised Christ could be crucified, thus they ridiculed the gospel. When Paul realised the wisdom and power in the cross of Christ. He embraced it. He put his hope in it and boasted in it.

14 But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

15 For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. 16 And as for all who walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God. (Gal 6:14–16)

Don’t be like Judah, hoping and boasting in the powers of this world. Keep hoping in Jesus and boasting in his cross.

Copyright © Joshua Washington and thescripturesays, 2014. All Rights Reserved.