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The Bare Naked Truth

24/07/2016

The Bare Naked Truth!

Text. Isaiah 20
Background and context: 711-713BC, Asdod rebelling against Assyria with the help and encouragement of Egypt, is crushed, as is foretold in Isa 14. Isaiah ordered by God to prophecy(to Judah) of Ashdod’s downfall and defeat.

1. Isaiah’s Method. v2
Isaiah is ordered by God to go about naked and barefoot. Purpose was to show to the people, that God was and is always faithful to his promises. This was a prophecy to be fulfilled before their eyes in a very short space of time. Isaiah 14:28 In the year that king Ahaz died was this burden. 29 Rejoice not thou, whole Palestina, because the rod of him that smote thee is broken: for out of the serpent’s root shall come forth a cockatrice, and his fruit shall be a fiery flying serpent. 30 And the firstborn of the poor shall feed, and the needy shall lie down in safety: and I will kill thy root with famine, and he shall slay thy remnant. 31 Howl, O gate; cry, O city; thou, whole Palestina, art dissolved: for there shall come from the north a smoke, and none shall be alone in his appointed times. 32 What shall one then answer the messengers of the nation? That the Lord hath founded Zion, and the poor of his people shall trust in it. Isaiah was just to be unclad for 3 years. This is important, for Isaiah would make other prophecies, the fulfilment of some of these were 600 years away – but God would bring them to pass, just as surely.

  • A CHILD BORN OF A VIRGIN! Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
  • A KING WHO WILL REIGN FOREVER! Isaiah 9:6-7 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
  • A SAVIOUR! Isaiah 53 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all… 10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. 11 …he shall bear their iniquities. 12 …he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

God’s faithfulness to His own Word is undeniable, the people can see it being enacted before their eyes – and they can also trust that when these more important promises are made they will also be kept, just as surely as the Ashdod prophecy was fulfilled. (Does God then want us to do what Isaiah did? No, these passages are DESCRIPTIVE, not PRESCRIPTIVE).

2. Isaiah’s Message. v4. 3 Then the Lord said, “Just as My servant Isaiah has walked naked and barefoot three years for a sign and a wonder against Egypt and Ethiopia, 4 so shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptians as prisoners and the Ethiopians as captives, young and old, naked and barefoot, with their buttocks uncovered, to the shame of Egypt.
What would Isaiah have been preaching about, as he appeared unclothed in Jerusalem? Here’s three strong possibilities…

  • Self-sufficiency results in DEFEAT! V4. People were trusting in the help of man – in Egypt and Ethiopia – when they ought to have been trusting in the Lord alone for salvation. Their denial of God’s help would mean that they would be defeated, for their strength was insufficient. Isa 31:1-3, 1 John 3:17. Isaiah 3:1-3 For, behold, the Lord, the Lord of hosts, doth take away from Jerusalem and from Judah the stay and the staff, the whole stay of bread, and the whole stay of water.  The mighty man, and the man of war, the judge, and the prophet, and the prudent, and the ancient,  The captain of fifty, and the honourable man, and the counsellor, and the cunning artificer, and the eloquent orator. 1 John 2:17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
  • Self-sufficiency results in DISGRACE! Thus Isaiah dressed to show his shame. This is what those would be like who trusted only in this world and those who live in it.
  • Self-sufficiency results in inescapable DOOM. Think of the terrible defeat and disgrace of those who stand before a holy God in their sins. The shame, when we stand unclothed, unable to hid, all our secrets revealed, before the God whom we have offended and sinned against. v6 ‘How shall we escape.’ Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. Romans 2:16 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel. 1 Corinthians 4:5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.

Believers will be clothed on that day – in the righteousness of Christ! Why? Because Jesus bore OUR SHAME on His naked body on the tree. He took our shame, bore our nakedness for us, and died in our place, and simultaneously clothed us in His righteousness.

3. Isaiah’s Ministry.
This tells us a lot about Isaiah, his ministry, obedience, response to God’s grace. He did what God told him to do, even though that would make him the object of ridicule and shame. What of us? Can we sing ‘Where he may lead me I will go’ – and really mean what we are singing?

The bare naked truth is that to rely on this world, its people or its things, will bring only defeat and disagree. Let US trust in the Lord.

From → Bible Study, Isaiah

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