“Then they shall be afraid and ashamed of Ethiopia their expectation and Egypt their glory. And the inhabitant of this territory will say in that day, 'Surely such is our expectation, wherever we flee for help to be delivered from the king of Assyria; and how shall we escape?'"
Isaiah has been prophesying against the nations surrounding Israel. He now turns his attention to God’s judgment against the land of Egypt (Isaiah 18-19). When Israel was threatened by the nation of Assyria, Hoshea, the king of Israel, turned to Egypt for help (2 Kings 17:4). As the opening verses above indicate, God told Israel that the day was coming when they would be ashamed for having looked to Egypt for assistance to help the overcome the Assyrian threat.
Israel should have turned to the Lord for deliverance from the Assyrians. God rebuked them for doing this: “‘Woe to the rebellious children,’ says the Lord, ‘Who take counsel, but not of Me, and who devise plans, but not of My Spirit, that they may add sin to sin; who walk to go down to Egypt, and have not asked My advice, to strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh, and to trust in the shadow of Egypt! Therefore the strength of Pharaoh shall be your shame, and trust in the shadow of Egypt shall be your humiliation” (Isaiah 30:1-3). As the judgment against Egypt that God pronounced through Isaiah indicated, Israel was foolish to turn to Egypt for help (Isaiah 18-19).
To demonstrate, His bringing judgment against the Egyptians notice what God had Isaiah do: “In the year that Tartan came to Ashdod, when Sargon the king of Assyria sent him, and he fought against Ashdod and took it, at the same time the Lord spoke by Isaiah the son of Amoz, saying, ‘Go, and remove the sackcloth from your body, and take your sandals off your feet.’ And he did so, walking naked and barefoot. Then the Lord said, ‘Just as My servant Isaiah has walked naked and barefoot three years for a sign and a wonder against Egypt and Ethiopia, so shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptians as prisoners and the Ethiopians as captives, young and old, naked and barefoot, with their buttocks uncovered, to the shame of Egypt’” (Isaiah 20:1-4). God had Isaiah walk around naked and barefoot for THREE YEARS as a sign of how in 3 years the Egyptians would be led away naked as captives of the Assyrians. This would cause Israel to be ashamed of ever having looked to the Egyptians as a way of escaping the Assyrian threat.
As I consider this, for one I am thankful I was not a prophet like Isaiah who had to walk around naked for 3 years as a sign to God’s people to prove a point that God was trying to make to them. More importantly, this passage does get me to thinking: “Do I turn to others, besides God, as a means of deliverance from the trials I face?” When a great trial is in front of me (cf. such as being overrun by another nation like the Assyrians), it is very tempting to seek immediate help elsewhere instead of waiting patiently in faith for God’s deliverance. It is tempting to begin trusting in the power of money, the strength of other people, or even in my own abilities and ingenuity during such times. God forbid that I should do this instead of trusting in Him. Today, I will strive to turn to the Lord and trust in Him and His power as my Deliverer from any trials which may come my way today. The Lord alone is my way of escape!f trusting in Him. Today, I will strive to turn to the Lord and trust in Him and His
“While I live I will praise the Lord; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being. Do not put your trust in princes, nor in a son of man, in whom there is no help. His spirit departs, he returns to his earth; in that very day his plans perish. Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God” (Psalm 146:2-5).