Meet Isaiah, streaker…
20 Under the orders of Emperor Sargon of Assyria, the commander-in-chief of the Assyrian army attacked the Philistine city of Ashdod. 2 Three years earlier the Lord had told Isaiah son of Amoz to take off his sandals and the sackcloth he was wearing. He obeyed and went around naked and barefoot. 3 When Ashdod was captured, the Lord said, “My servant Isaiah has been going around naked and barefoot for three years. This is a sign of what will happen to Egypt and Ethiopia. 4 The emperor of Assyria will lead away naked the prisoners he captures from those two countries. Young and old, they will walk barefoot and naked, with their buttocks exposed, bringing shame on Egypt. 5 Those who have put their trust in Ethiopia and have boasted about Egypt will be disillusioned, their hopes shattered. 6 When that time comes, the people who live along the coast of Philistia will say, ‘Look at what has happened to the people we relied on to protect us from the emperor of Assyria! How will we ever survive?’”
When Isaiah responded to God’s question “Who will I send and who will go for me?” by saying “Here am I, send me?” I’m pretty sure he had no idea that one day God was going to ask him to take his clothes and his shoes off and wander around in public, like that, for three whole years!
In fact, I’m not sure many would sign up as followers of God’s if that was ever to appear in the job description!
Isaiah is not however, the Biblical equivalent of the naked rambler. There was a reason he was asked to do what he was asked to do.
It was all a question of trust.
God’s people were looking to be rescued and they were hoping the neighbours would help. Isaiah could have launched into sermon mode and told the people that relying on others, especially other nations, was not the answer. God was the one they should trust. But instead of just telling them that, God asked Isaiah to show the people how foolish they were being – by wandering around naked.
I wonder if God was to ask me to do anything as wacky, would I be willing to do it?
And what does this particular episode say about Isaiah? To me, it screams from the rooftops that he was one truly remarkable man who really did put God first in his life. Before family, friends, even his own comfort and reputation.
But to be honest I hope it’s something God never asks of me!
You call us to work with you in spreading the good news
To live it
And show it
To talk of it
And embody it.
Where our actions tell a different story
Please forgive us
And implant in us the desire to want to trust you
Wherever you take us
Whatever you ask of us.
Give us the courage on our faith journey
to keep saying:
Here am I Lord, send me.