In our study of Isaiah chapter twenty, we will look at Isaiah's unusual walk to call Judah to trust in the Lord for deliverance. At a time when things around them were looking very dark, the prophet urged the people to trust in God.
"In the year that the supreme commander, sent by Sargon king of Assyria, came to Ashdod and attacked and captured it -" NIV translation
We begin with the establishment of the time that we are talking about. Sargon king of Assyria is talking about Sargon II who reigned over Assyria from 721 to 705 B.C. Ashdod was located in Samaria on the Mediterranean coast. During this time, the Assyrians had invaded the northern kingdom (Israel) and captured it.
"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." NIV translation
Up to this point, God had used Isaiah to communicate with the leaders of Judah with words. Now, the prophet is told to remove his clothes and walk around Judah naked. This probably strikes all of us as an unusual request just as it probably did with Isaiah. Nevertheless, the prophet did as he was told.
This is a good lesson for us as well in the fact that we must trust in the fact that God knows all and has a plan for each and every one of us. At first, it may seem odd but we all have our own walk of faith.
"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, 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." NIV translation
We see that Isaiah walked around this way for three years. We are reminded that, throughout the Bible, the number three is associated with the earthly display of God's will. The purpose of Isaiah's walk of faith was to be an example of what would happen to the Egyptians and Cushites at the hands of the Assyrians.