The Book of Isaiah Bible Study Chapter 20 Part 1

We are going to begin this week by looking at the first two verses of Isaiah 20: Isaiah 20:1-2

In Matthew 16:23 Yeshua rebukes Peter for not having in mind the things of G-d, but for having in mind the things of men. Peter was looking at things from a human perspective. If we want to be people who are pleasing to G-d, we need to be people who have His perspective on things. When problems come into our lives, we do not need to be overcome by them. As disciples of Messiah, with the help of the Holy Spirit working in our lives, we are called to overcome the problems. As we overcome, G-d is glorified, our faith is built up and grows and the obstacles that face in our future can be tackled with assurance, as we know that G-d, who was faithful in the past, will move to help us to overcome – G-d desires that the good work that He begun in us reaches completion (Phil 1:6). 

In this chapter we learn a principle that, if we embrace it, will change our lives: we need to be people who walk by faith and not by sight. It is unnatural for a human being to walk in faith. Naturally we tend to make decisions based upon what we see. As followers of Messiah, we are called to live supernaturally – we are called to live by faith (truth) and not by sight (2 Cor 5:7). Faithfulness can be defined as behaving (acting) in a way that is motivated by the truth of G-d and not motivated by human reasoning. 

v1: Tartan: This is not the name of a man. It is a title for a military leader. This man was not the king, but he was the supreme general (Commander in Chief) of the Assyrian empire. 

  • Ashdod: At this time, Ashdod was a Philistine city. Ashdod is a Jewish city today. It is the sixth largest city in Israel with a population of just over 220 000 people. 
  • In the year that Tartan came to Ashdod: This happened after the Northern kingdom of Israel had already been taken captive by Assyria. 
  • Sargon the king of Assyria: The king of Assyria was a powerful man in the physical. He was the leader of a very large and very vast empire which was growing rapidly. Assyria, through being victorious in war, was adding nation upon nation into its empire. 
  • He fought against Ashdod and took it: The children of Judah saw firsthand how powerful Assyria were, as nation by nation were brought into subjection to it. G-d used these Assyrian victories as a teaching tool for Judah. Judah, the children who belonged to the G-d of Israel, needed to learn to see things differently. G-d wanted Judah to look beyond the natural. Although Assyria were adding nations to its empire in the natural, that was not the expectation that G-d wanted them to have for themselves. G-d wanted them to live in His truth – that in Him they were conquerors/overcomers. Their eyes did not need to be on what Assyria was doing, their eyes needed to be on what G-d was doing. They did not need to fear Assyria, they needed to fear G-d (Matt 10:28). 

v2: At the same time: At the time when the Judeans saw Ashdod fall to the Assyrian empire. 

  • The L-rd spoke: G-d gave divine revelation. 
  • By Isaiah (literally: In the hand of Isaiah): This expression speaks of the fact that Isaiah the prophet was under the authority of G-d. Isaiah spoke with the authority that he received from the L-rd.
  • Remove (literally: open up) the sackcloth from your body (literally: around your loins)For quite some time Isaiah had been walking with sackcloth around his loins. This was a sign or a visible aid to remind the people of their need to repent. Now, however, their time for repentance is over. 
  • Naked: Nakedness in the Bible speaks of shame. It is now the time for punishment or shame. 
  • Barefoot: This was a sign of poverty. It was a sign that the person was in a desperate situation financially. 

Note: Isaiah had been calling Judah to repentance, but they had not repented – even though  they had watched the Northern kingdom (their brothers) being taken captive.

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