When the Lord decides to remove the safety nets of our confidence, it rocks our world. Have you placed your trust in God alone, or do you have back-up plans? God is able to give or take away any strength or support you believe will lift up your pride or confidence…
1 In the year that the supreme commander, sent by Sargon king of Assyria, came to Ashdod and attacked and captured it— 2 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.
3 Then the Lord said, “Just as my servant Isaiah has gone stripped and barefoot for three years, as a sign and portent against Egypt and Cush, 4 so the king of Assyria will lead away stripped and barefoot the Egyptian captives and Cushite exiles, young and old, with buttocks bared—to Egypt’s shame. 5 Those who trusted in Cush and boasted in Egypt will be dismayed and put to shame. 6 In that day the people who live on this coast will say, ‘See what has happened to those we relied on, those we fled to for help and deliverance from the king of Assyria! How then can we escape?’”
Isaiah took off his prophet uniform, which was rough sackcloth common to those who mourn and those who have little, and he went around near naked to communicate his message. No shirt, no shoes, no joke.
The Lord instructed Isaiah to do this in the year that Assyria came and captured Ashdod, a coastal city in the Philistine area of Israel. Perhaps the city was under Hezekiah’s reign at this point, and perhaps not. Ashdod would fall to the Assyrians regardless. And as Ashdod was to be overthrown, so would Egypt and Cush (Ethiopia), as God revealed three years into Isaiah’s nakedness.
Those who trust in Cush and who boasted in Egypt for security against the threat of the Assyrians would be put to shame. They would cry out with no hope: “How then can we escape?” Indeed, when the Lord decides to remove the safety nets of our confidence our escape is called into question.
No shirt, no shoes, no net, no joke.
What is your safety net? In whom do you trust today? In what do you place your confidence? Some trust in horses and chariots, we read in Psalm 20:7, yet we trust in the name of the Lord our God. Is that you? Have you placed your trust in God alone, or do you have back-up plans?
I am reminded of the Pharisees of Jesus’ day, who placed so much confidence in their status as children of Abraham. Their heritage as Hebrews was a source of pride and self-confidence. Jesus cut them to the quick by telling them in Luke 3:8 that he could raise up children of Abraham from the rocks on the ground. God is able to give or take away any strength or support you believe is able to lift up your pride or confidence.
The truth is, God wants each of us to trust only and always in him. Our confidence in the things of this world and in the things we can build or save leads us to a cheap idolatry that stands in the way of our trust in the Lord.
No shirt, no shoes, no net, no idols, no joke.