Reflection on Isaiah 20:1-6

Image from the archives of the British Library

“In the year that Tharthan entered into Azotus, when Sargon the king of the Assyrians had sent him, and he had fought against Azotus, and had taken it:At that same time the Lord spoke by the hand of Isaias the son of Amos, saying: Go, and loose the sackcloth from off thy loins, and take off thy shoes from thy feet. And he did so, and went naked, and barefoot.And the Lord said: As my servant Isaias hath walked, naked and barefoot, it shall be a sign and a wonder of three years upon Egypt, and upon Ethiopia,So shall the king of the Assyrians lead away the prisoners of Egypt, and the captivity of Ethiopia, young and old. naked and barefoot, with their buttocks uncovered to the shame of Egypt.And they shall be afraid, and ashamed of Ethiopia their hope, and of Egypt their glory.And the inhabitants of this isle shall say in that day: Lo this was our hope, to whom we fled for help, to deliver up from the face of the king of the Assyrians: and how shall we be able to escape?” (Isaiah 20:1-6)

Literal Sense: The literal interpretation of this chapter is that Judah trusted the forces of Egypt and Ethiopia, rather than God, to deliver them from the threat of the Assyrian military.  They failed to heed God’s instruction through Asaph: “And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.” (Psalm 50:15)

Allegorical Sense:  Whereas God’s people trusted in Egypt and Ethiopia to deliver them from their troubles, Christ did not trust in the nations or in the civil authorities to free him from his trials, recognizing His kingdom was not of this world, but trusted in His Father to deliver Him from evil (Matthew 6:13).  Whereas the covenant children of God sought deliverance in political powers, the only begotten Son of God sought deliverance in His Father, as he said: “Deliver, O God, my soul from the sword” (Psalm 22:20).

Moral Sense: Though people today are not necessarily turning to Egypt and Ethiopia for deliverance, many often turn to worldly resources, rather than God, for deliverance.  Some turn solely to the government to solve various problems like poverty and crime.  Others put all of their hope in the education system or technology to solve various problems.  Ultimately, one’s hope is not to be in a particular government or a certain educational system; rather, one’s ultimate hope should be in God for deliverance.

Anagogical Sense:  Whereas Judah found temporary deliverance from the Assyrians by God (Isaiah 38:6) the church triumphant has been given a permanent deliverance from every trial (Revelation 21:4), where no Assyrian army nor any Satanic force will ever be a threat to Body of the Lion of the Tribe of Judah.

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