“at that time the LORD spoke through Isaiah son of Amoz. He said to him, ‘Take off the sackcloth from your body and the sandals from your feet.’ And he did so, going around stripped and barefoot.” – Isaiah 20.2From David King:
I realise that some of my blog verses are a little strange. It is the result of reading through the Bible each year. From time to time you come across the famous, well trodden passages and stories, but more often you stumble across some less commonly used verses. Such as the one above.
Being a prophet of the living God can be a hard calling – read some of what Ezekiel ends up doing! The verse above is one such example. Visualise it. The ESV describes Isaiah as naked. That almost certainly doesn’t mean naked in the way we would understand it. The Hebrew probably means stripped down to his pants. However in that culture, to do that was nearly as shocking as walking around Wallington in your birthday suit would be today.
And the next verse tells us that he did it for three years!
I suppose it saved on the dry cleaning.
But the point I really want to make is that Isaiah did it. That tells us two things. The first is that when Isaiah heard from the Lord, he really heard from the Lord. This wasn’t some vague impression, or some voice in the head – this was an unequivocal word from the Lord. Certainly nothing less would convince me to strip down to my undies. And that is reassuring. When we read the prophets, we are reading people who had a totally clear word from the Lord. It was a word that was then affirmed by the people as they saw that what the prophet said came true.
The second thing it shows us is how seriously the prophets took God’s word. If God told them to do something, they would do it – no matter how extreme, no matter how hard.
Another man did something similar to Isaiah. He didn’t strip himself naked and walk about the city – he was stripped naked and driven through the city to a hill. There he was hung on a cross, naked, as a sign of God’s judgment. His name was Jesus. He was willing to go so much further than Isaiah did out of obedience to his Father. And this is what he says to us:
“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” Matthew 16.24
Following Jesus, will mean that at times he will ask us to do something that might feel as hard as walking through Wallington in just our undies. How much easier is Name Him than that!