In the world of the Ancient Near East, public nakedness was a reminder of the poverty and humiliation that could come upon a people if they were carried away as captives by their enemies. In Isaiah 20, the prophet gives the message of God not through mere words, but through a living parable of the exile to come. Assyria would soon be the instrument of God’s judgment upon many nations. Isaiah would be a sign to Israel’s neighbors of this impending disaster. The prophet was to walk around naked and barefoot for three years as a visual warning to all who witnessed this prophetic oracle.
It was tempting for small city states to look for aid from a larger empire, hoping to survive in the shadow of their strength. Many wanted to put their trust in Egypt or Cush, but there would be no real help from these powers to the south. Neither of them would be of any use in preventing the coming assault, since they too would be taken as prisoners by the Assyrians.
The most significant danger that the nations of the world face today is the coming wrath of the Almighty. Though people may be gripped by fear of some earthly enemy, nothing is more important than discovering the way that we can have peace with God. As we face the prospect of divine judgment, the confidence of the church is in the Son of God alone. All who have placed their trust in Him are called to watch and work until He returns to claim us as His beloved children.
“What is your only hope in life and in death?” The Heidelberg Catechism gives us the best answer: “I am not my own, but belong unto my faithful Savior.” We find our comfort in Jesus Christ. He has begun to lead us out of the darkness of self-sufficiency. We also reject any misplaced trust in some other powerful entity among the power brokers of the world. The God who made the heavens and the earth has granted us perfect deliverance from all that assails us through His mercy extended to us in Jesus our Redeemer.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Father God, You will accomplish all of Your holy will. You have used Your prophets to bring us signs of Your judgment against the sins of the world. You have used these same men to speak boldly of the hope that is to be found in Christ alone. We will not trust in the power of men. Thank You for the deliverance that is ours in Your Son.