"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.
Isaiah 20:3 & 4
"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.
"Those who trusted in Cush and boasted in Egypt will be dismayed and put to shame." NIV translation
The northern kingdom of Israel had joined with Egypt in the battle against the Assyrians. They all tried to get the king of Judah to join the alliance. Isaiah was warning them that they should not trust in any nation to protect them but instead should trust in God.
The same thing holds true for us, as Christians, and for the land of Israel today. Jesus is our deliverer and we must always remember that. In Revelation, we are told of the day when a rider will come on a white horse (see Revelation 6). This rider will bring a supposed peace to a troubled world but it is a false peace just as the northern kingdom had falsely trusted in Egypt and Cush to help them.
"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?'" NIV translation
When the people that they had trusted in are led away in shame, the people will lose hope.
It is the same with those who will trust in an earthly leader in the last days. At the mid-point of a peace treaty, they will realize that it was a false hope and the world will find itself enslaved. The only way to avoid this is to trust in our Deliverer and His provision for our peace with God. We all have a walk of faith that is set before us and each walk begins with a first step. That first step is accepting Jesus as our Deliverer.