We finish off Isaiah 20 by reading Isaiah 20:3-6
v3: My servant: This is one of the greatest compliments that a person can receive – to be thought of by G-d as His faithful servant (Matt 25:23).
- Naked: Some commentators say that ‘nakedness’ here is referring to Isaiah being just in his undergarments. Some commentators say it means exactly what it says.
- Naked and barefoot: Isaiah walked around showing the signs of shame and destitution. The outcome of people’s lack of faithfulness and lack of repentance eventually leads to G-d’s judgment in their lives – shame and poverty.
- Three: Biblically this is a number related to revelation. Isaiah was revealing/demonstrating/confirming something to the people of Judah – ie without faith they would find themselves in a desperate situation, destitute and spiritually shamed.
- Ethiopia: Ethiopia, 3000 years ago, was a very powerful and splendid nation. This caused many people to trust in them and to forge an alliance with them. Ethiopia helped to protect these allied nations when they were attacked.
v4: Note: The Philistines (those who lived in Ashdod and elsewhere) trusted in the alliances they made with Egypt, Ethiopia, etc. This did not stand them in good stead, as those countries were overpowered by Assyria. Egypt, the young and the old, was taken captive and Ethiopia was led into exile.
- They will be naked and barefoot with their buttocks uncovered: When Assyria conquered a nation, they would strip the people naked and make them walk barefoot. The reason for this was that it was much harder to resist, fight or run without shoes and while naked. Isaiah went around naked and barefoot as a testimony to his people – if they failed to trust G-d then this was going to be their experience.
v5: Afraid and ashamed: Like the Philistines, Judah had also looked to Egypt and Ethiopia and had trusted them to aid them in fighting against their enemies. Now they are ashamed of their expectation as it turned out that their confidence in these countries was misplaced.
v6: Territory: Referring to Ashdod. Ashdod borders the Mediterranean Sea – it is right along the coast. The word used here in Hebrew means ‘island’. Ashdod was surrounded by Judah and the Mediterranean – there was no place for them to flee. They were like an island unto themselves.
- That day: Referring to their day of judgment.
- Such is our expectation: They had an expectation. They looked toward Egypt and Ethiopia to help them, but these countries were unable to come to their defence. Ashdod had no one to help them. They had no place to flee. This was the message G-d was trying to get across to the children of Judah because they had that same tendency to trust in political and military alliances rather than to trust in G-d. G-d wanted them to stop trusting in treaties. To stop making peace agreements – those things that could be seen. He wanted them to trust in Him alone (Him who is unseen) and to do what He had called them to do. We should never trust in physical resources. We need to rather trust in what G-d has revealed to us – His truth and spiritual revelation.