You want me to do what?!
In Isaiah 20, God uses Isaiah as an example to the nation of Israel.
“At that time the LORD spoke by Isaiah the son of Amoz, saying, “Go, and loose the sackcloth from your ways and take off your sandals from your feet,” and he did so, walking naked and barefoot.”
This got weird, FAST. It starts out like a normal call from God, “Isaiah, I want you to go.” I often wonder reading this, did God pause? Was Isaiah like, “Okay, God! Where do you want me to go?” Then God continues… “Go get naked… no, not the juice. I want you to take off all of your clothes and walk around like that for three years.”
Side note: The juice “Naked” could make a fortune with a slogan like “Get Naked.” and if they ever use it, I thought of it first.
I’m going to be real for a second here… I would have trouble with that calling.That’s… different.
Sometimes God calls us to do things that will make us uncomfortable. Maybe He’s not telling us to become a nudist for three years, maybe He is! I know for me, the uncomfortable ministry has been when God says, “Go, talk to that person that you don’t know. Tell them that I love them.”
It’s interesting, we don’t see Isaiah argue with God about this new calling. He went and did it! Isaiah faithfully obeyed when God told him to do something crazy, but I have trouble when God tells me to do something that should be normal for me.
I’ll tell God, “But God, I don’t know them. That would be weird. What if they think of me differently? What if they think I’m weird?” and God is quick to answer me, “Like you said, they don’t know you! They won’t think differently of you. I don’t care if they think you’re weird.”
I’ve realized that if I go and tell them that Jesus loves them, and He died to save them from their sins, and He’s alive and wants a relationship with them, they might think I’m weird. But if I don’t tell them that, they might go to Hell.
I should be willing to sacrifice my “coolness” for someone’s eternity. If Isaiah could give up clothes for three years, I can give up my fear of them not liking me.
If you continue the chapter, God tells Isaiah why he had to do this.
“Then the LORD said, “As my servant Isaiah has walked naked and barefoot for three years as a sign and a portent against Egypt and Cush, so shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptian captives and the couchette exiles, both the young and the old, naked and barefoot, with buttocks uncovered, the nakedness of Egypt.”
Isaiah walked naked for three years as a sign. God was using him to show Israel what was going to happen to Egypt.
If you’ve been reading along, you’ll remember that Israel was worried about being attacked by Assyria. They were trying to trust Egypt and Cush to save them. God is telling them not to! Egypt and Cush will be judged by Assyria.
The chapter finishes off with Israel realizing that their hope in Egypt was putting them in trouble. They don’t know what they’ll do. They think they’re stuck. If only they had read Psalms!
“It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes.”
They had the answer in front of them. What they needed to do was turn to God!
Maybe you’re feeling stuck and you’re seeing the walls close in. You’ve turned to different options, and it feels like none of them are working, that’s because they’re empty. Turn to God! He loves you, and He has not given up on you. He is for you, not against you. The best option is always to take refuge in Him.