Then the LORD said, “As my servant Isaiah has walked naked and barefoot for three years as a sign and a portent against Egypt and Cush, 4 so shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptian captives and the Cushite exiles, both the young and the old, naked and barefoot, with buttocks uncovered, the nakedness of Egypt. ESV Isaiah 20:3-4
Sometimes we wonder why God brings certain challenging things into our lives. He has a variety of reasons for this, but sometimes He wants us to live as examples before others. It could be the way we handle the loss of a job, a bad health diagnosis, or a challenging relationship demonstrates to others God’s power at work in our life. Sometimes our sins lead us to certain consequences that demonstrate to others the consequences they will face. And on some rare occasions, God asks us to act out really challenging things as teaching tools.
This happened to Isaiah in the verses above. God wanted the people to know they would be led into captivity, so He asked him to model the captive life. For three years, Isaiah had to walk naked and barefoot, modeling before the people what would soon come their way. I don’t even pretend to fully understand this! All I can do is try to learn from the situation and acknowledge that if it happened in the past, God may choose to do something similar in the future. I hope He doesn’t ask any of us to walk naked and barefoot, but we must realize we are His voice to the nations, and as such, are tasked to warn the world of the judgment to come if they don’t repent and believe the gospel. I’m not exactly sure what that would look like, but this verse caught my eye today and I thought it was worth sharing.
What has God called you to model? Paul clearly called us to model his life as he in turn modeled Christ’s life. Are you demonstrating God can be trusted in all ways? Are you loving the people God has called you to love–in turn demonstrating His love toward them? It’s a challenge, but keep in mind that Isaiah walked before us (naked and barefoot no less!). If He did that, surely we can live in the way God calls us.