Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Isaiah, Chapter 20

Chapter 20 of Isaiah is a short one, but it provides a powerful lesson in trusting God. During the time it was written Hezekiah was king of Judah and was witness to King Sargon of Assyria when he conquered and resettled Israel to the north. Naturally, as king of Judah, this made Hezekiah fearful that he was next to be conquered. As a result, he considered seeking an alliance with nearby Egypt and Cush.

Now as we saw in the previous two chapters, there had been prophecies made against the people of Egypt and Cush, but there was still some friendship between those people and Judah. King Hezekiah wanted to form an alliance of strength against the Assyrians, but God had other plans. God wanted Hezekiah to trust Him, not some outside source of strength, and that is why we get this warning against such an alliance.

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 afraid 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 20:3-6

According to my study Bible there are two reasons for this warning. First, the warning was because Isaiah foresaw that any insurrection against Assyria would be useless. We know, historically, that this was true. It was akin to picking a fight against someone you had no chance of beating. Second, as mentioned previously, Isaiah wanted Hezekiah to trust God instead of trusting a foreign ally. Judah had become too dependent on foreign allies by this time, and needed to return its focus to God.

Remember on Friday, in our discussion of chapter 17, how I discussed the importance of putting the focus back on God? That is what we are reminded of today. In reality, this is the most important thing we can do, and over the course of the past several days I have been reminded of this not only from the Bible, but from several other voices. As a result I have made a conscious effort to quite myself when things appear to be out of my control and listen for that still, small voice of God. It is that voice that reminds me, even in the maelstrom of life, that I need to persevere.

        4Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love.—Revelation 2:4

I wanted to conclude with this verse from Revelation because I feel it relates to the message that Isaiah is trying to give us. John here is submitting a letter from Christ to the church in Ephesus. Though they were commended for following Christ and doing what Paul had charged them to do years earlier, they had become so consumed by it that they had forgotten the spirit of Christ, their first love. This relates because Isaiah is asking Hezekiah to remember his love of God. We also must remember this first love so that we trust in him, because we can easily become so consumed with what we are doing we forget to rely on God for our strength.


  1. What is your definition of the Love of God?
  2. Why is it important for us to rely on God for strength?
  3. Was Hezekiah weak in his faith for not relying on God when it seemed he had a solution in front of him?


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