Isaiah 20

Today's Passage: Isaiah 20

Have you had the dream where you go to school wearing only your undergarments? It’s common enough that it’s frequently mocked on TV and in films. Now, imagine the Lord asking
you to do that on purpose for the next three years?

Isaiah 20 may be the fulfillment of the first half of chapter 19 regarding the destruction of
Egypt. This chapter is set “in the year that the commander in chief, who was sent by Sargon the
king of Assyria, came to Ashdod…
” This is likely around the year 711 BC. As Constable’s Notes

“For four years Egypt had encouraged the city-states of western Palestine to resist
Assyrian aggression with the promise of assistance. In 713 B.C., Ashdod, the northernmost
Philistine town that stood about 35 miles west of Jerusalem, had rebelled, and Assyria
replaced her king, Ahimiti (Azuri), with another, a man named Yamani (Jaman). Rebellion
continued, however, and pleas for help went out from Ashdod to Judah, Moab, and Edom.
Sargon II (722-705 B.C.) responded to Ashdod’s rebellion by sending his second in
command who reduced Ashdod to an Assyrian province. Egypt’s promised help never
materialized. In fact, the Egyptians handed Yamani over to the Assyrians in chains to avoid
an Assyrian attack.”

During this time, God called Isaiah to loose his sackcloth and remove his sandals. The word
the ESV translates “naked” is the word “arom” in Hebrew. It’s repeated three times in this
chapter, and could mean completely naked, but could also mean “lightly dressed” as in “stripped
to one’s undergarments.” In a culture as sensitive to modesty as this time and place was, for
Isaiah to walk around in just a loin cloth (which seems most likely) would be considered “arom.”
Additionally, it was the state of humiliation that one may have found themselves after being
beaten and robbed.

After three years of immodesty, Isaiah proclaimed the meaning behind the object lesson.
Isaiah’s nudity wasn’t a sign for Ashdod as the people may have expected. Instead, Isaiah’s
humility represented Egypt (which was ruled by Cushites who had gained power there).
Understanding the true meaning of Isaiah’s warning made things considerably worse—Ashdod
had faced attack, but trusted in the help of Egypt as the only force that may withstand the
Assyrian war-machine. If the Lord was proclaiming Egypt’s humiliation, then Ashdod’s hope
was unfounded.

“How shall we escape?” This is the question of all questions. This was Ashdod’s question
after learning that their hope in Egypt was misplaced. This should be the question everyone asks
at some point when they realized that all hope is lost outside a saving relationship with Christ.
The humiliation of walking around in our undergarments will pale in comparison to having each
and every sin we’ve ever committed laid out before the Creator of the Universe.

It would be bad enough to have them displayed on the projector at church, but even that’s
nothing compared to those moments being brought as evidence at your trial before the Most
Righteous Judge. Satan stands at the Accuser, the prosecution, saying, “Look at all the vile sins.”
In that moment, our heart sinks as we beg the question, “How shall I escape?”

Thankfully, the story doesn’t end there. Christ’s sacrifice defeated sin and Satan. Although
we’re completely guilty of every accusation, Christ bore our guilt and shame. We have no
worldly help to escape. Knowing that, Christ made a way when we had no way.

Written By: Tyler Short

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