Dec. 31, 2019
LET IT GLOW
What a time for this challenge for us believers as the new years is tomorrow. Is there a burden upon your heart, an unanswered prayer, or are you seeking God's will in a particular area of your life? Maybe it is a time for prayer and fasting, friend. In this chapter, God asked Isaiah to do something we would consider extraordinary. Would we be obedient if God asked us to obey some extraordinary task?
This oracle is a continuation of chapter 19, extending the prediction of what would happen to Egypt, Ethiopia, and the Jews. It was in the year that Ashdod, a strong Philistine city, was taken by the Assyrian army. Tartan, was an Assyrian general who led the siege.
Isaiah had been wearing a sackcloth for some time. Sackcloth was a coarse loose cloth or sacking (used in mourning and for begging). Some think he wore this sackcloth in mourning for the ten tribes of Israel, as they were captives of Assyria. Others think it was what he commonly wore as a prophet. While others considered it a way of showing himself mortified to the world, and that he might learn to endure hardness. Soft clothing was worn by those in the king's palace (Matthew 11:8). Elijah wore hair-cloth (2Kings1:8), as well as John the Baptist (Matthew 3:4), and those that pretended to be prophets (Zech. 13:4).
Now, God gave Prophet Isaiah an unusual task-take off the burlap sackcloth he had been wearing and remove his sandals. Verse 2b tells us that Isaiah did so and walked naked and barefoot.
The word naked means nude; either partially or totally naked.
Matthew Henry's Commentary suggests:
He was not doing this to exchange the sackcloth for better clothing, but for none at all-no upper garment, no mantle, cloak, or coat, but only that which was next to him, we may suppose his shirt, waistcoat, and drawers; also, going barefoot. So that compared with the dress of others, and what he himself usually wore, he might be said to go naked. This was a great hardship upon the prophet; it was a blemish to his reputation, and would expose him to contempt and ridicule. God bade him do it, that he might give a proof of his obedience to God in a most difficult command, and so shame the disobedience of his people to the most easy and reasonable precepts.He was to do this for 3 years as a sign to the Ethiopians and Egyptians that they would be taken away as captives by the king of Assyria, thus stripped, or in rags, and very shabby clothing, as Isaiah was.
It is argued that Isaiah went about barefoot and in his undergarment, or tunic. The shocking of this was a way to gain the attention of the people to severity of his prediction. They had an opportunity to ask Isaiah what the meaning of his doing was.
The Assyrians usually stripped their captives naked and deported them. Those who were killed were also stripped and had their skin peeled while they were still alive. If Egypt did not repent, this horrible event was soon coming to them.
If we were suddenly stripped of our religious practices, church doors closed, and we were forced to stop gathering as believers and worshipers of Jesus Christ, what would we do? Would we do it in secret and privately? Or would we drop our faith altogether?
LET IT GROW
What Isaiah did was also a warning to Judah to not seek the help of foreign nations, but to turn to God.
Considering the unique instructions God gave Isaiah, He may ask us to take steps we don't understand. It may not be as extreme as Isaiah had to follow, but it may be something that we are ridiculed for doing. We must obey God in complete faith, for He will never ask us to do something wrong.
One time, I followed the Nazarite vow; I didn't cut my hair, did not touch a dead body (one of my kittens was hit by a car and died), and did not eat pork. It was during the time that our church was building a new sanctuary and issues were always coming at us, to discourage and stop the progress. Folks snickered at me, but God was faithful in helping us complete the building, debt free. He honored this prayer and fasting and extraordinary vow that I took on all by myself. It was worth all that I endured when we walked in the sanctuary for the first service, after three years. Glory to God in the Highest!
Are we willing to something extraordinary for an extraordinary God if He asks us?
LET IT GO
Make my life extraordinary for Jesus' glory.