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Saturday, February 17, 2018

February 17 - Isaiah 20 & 21

Today's reading in our daily plan is Isaiah 20 & 21. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • The Assyrians come and capture Ashdod (a large city located in Jerusalem). Egypt doesn't offer the Israelites assistance and neither does Cush (Ethiopia). 
  • The reference to Sackcloth garments means that Isaiah was dressed in the clothes typically worn by the Israelites when in mourning.  
  • God tells Isaiah to strip off his clothing as a lesson to the Israelites regarding their shame and disgrace. He walks about naked as a living lesson of shame for 3 years. (Talk about weird!)
  • Instead of turning to God and putting their faith and hope in him. The Israelites have hope that Egypt or Ethiopia will be their rescuers. However, no aid is to be had from these foreign nations. 
  • God declares judgment upon Babylon. It will be swift and seem to come out of nowhere like a storm. 
  • Isaiah appoints a watchman to keep an eye on what is happening with Babylon and report back to him. He is given notice that Babylon has fallen. 
  • We also see Isaiah simultaneously discussing a future, when the enemy of God will fall. This is foreshadowing some of the events that will surround Jesus’ future return, and that are discussed later in the Bible.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • The Israelites are putting their hope in all the wrong places instead of with God. 
  • God is really trying to bring them back to him. He even had a prophet walk around naked for 3 years as a constant reminder.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • Is God calling you to do something that seems crazy? If Isaiah can walk around naked for three years, you can take that crazy-sounding step. Maybe you need to have a really hard conversation, or give up that bad habit once and for all, or quit your job to pursue the passion God has given you. It will feel crazy and it won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.
  • Have you been putting your hope in other people instead of relying on God? Have you felt the shame that Isaiah is feeling as he is completely exposed?  The great thing about God is that despite our shame or our feeling hopeless, he is a loving father that will welcome us with open arms. We just need to turn to him and lean into him.