The Blessing Of Naked Obedience

Audio of Sermon: 

Isaiah 20 The Blessing Of Naked Obedience Riverview BIBLENOTES

Isaiah 20:1-6 (KJV)  In the year that Tartan came unto Ashdod, (when Sargon the king of Assyria sent him,) and fought against Ashdod, and took it;  [2]  At the same time spake the LORD by Isaiah the son of Amoz, saying, Go and loose the sackcloth from off thy loins, and put off thy shoe from thy foot. And he did so, walking naked and barefoot.  [3]  And the LORD said, Like as my servant Isaiah hath walked naked and barefoot three years for a sign and wonder upon Egypt and upon Ethiopia;  [4]  So shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptians prisoners, and the Ethiopians captives, young and old, naked and barefoot, even with their buttocks uncovered, to the shame of Egypt.  [5]  And they shall be afraid and ashamed of Ethiopia their expectation, and of Egypt their glory.  [6]  And the inhabitant of this isle shall say in that day, Behold, such is our expectation, whither we flee for help to be delivered from the king of Assyria: and how shall we escape?

711 years before Christ was born Egypt promised Ashdod, a Philistine town about 35 miles west of Jerusalem, that it would protect it if they stood against the Assyrians. The King of Assyria named Sargon (this is the only place in the Bible his name is mentioned) sent his second in command to Ashdod. Rather than send assistance to Ashdod Egypt, scoundrels that they were, reneged on their promise and turned Ashdod over to Assyria.

God despises a lie.
God despises injustice.

God says of the liar who does not do as he promises:

Proverbs 12:22 (NKJV) LYING lips are an abomination to the Lord, But those who deal truthfully are His delight.

Revelation 21:8 (NKJV) But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and ALL LIARS shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.

Liars and deceivers are grouped sexually immoral people and murderers. This shows us that God hates a lie. God says of deception, injustice, and false weights:

Isaiah 61:8 (ESV) For I the LORD love justice; I hate robbery and wrong; I will faithfully give them their recompense, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.

Proverbs 20:23 (NLT) The LORD detests double standards; he is not pleased by dishonest scales.

The Egyptians may have justified their dishonesty by saying “But they are Philistines. No one likes Philistines, so let’s treat them dishonestly and use them for our own advantage.” God does not honor this, nor will He bless the deceiver or the liar.

God sent His Son into the world to save whosoever will. Our God …

1 Timothy 2:4 (NIV) wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

He does not hate any one people group. God establishes the nations to afford a certain level of protection for the people so the Gospel can go forth. To use someone as if they were but an animal, to treat someone so disrespectfully, God will not bless it. God will not bless meanness!

The Naked Obedience Of Isaiah

So God told His Prophet Isaiah:

Isaiah 20:2 (KJV) …. Go and loose the sackcloth from off thy loins, and put off thy shoe from thy foot. And he did so, WALKING NAKED AND BAREFOOT. 

Say what?
Isaiah was told by God to become a visible sermon.

God specifically told Isaiah to ….

loose the sackcloth from thy loins (the groin)
put off your shoe from your foot

And Isaiah did so, walking NAKED and BAREFOOT!

Let me say two things about this text. First, I’m glad God never asked me to preach naked to you. And I hope you all will AMEN that! But secondly to a Hebrew to be NAKED (עָרוֹם `arowm) can mean “BARE NAKED”or the word can mean “in your Fruit of the Looms” or “Loincloth”. A good example of this is when King David had the Ark returned to Jerusalem. When the Ark of the Covenant was brought back into Jerusalem King David danced before the Ark “wearing a linen ephod” or loincloth.

2 Samuel 6:14, 20 (NKJV) Then David danced before the Lord with all his might; and David was wearing a linen ephod (loin cloth) …

David was not BARE NAKED, but he was in his “Fruit of the Looms”. You could tell whether he was wearing boxers or briefs! But when David returned home his first wife Michal chewed him out.

2 Samuel 6:20 (NKJV) Then David returned to bless his household. And Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, “How glorious was the king of Israel today, UNCOVERING HIMSELF today in the eyes of the maids of his servants, as one of the base fellows SHAMELESSLY UNCOVERS HIMSELF!

For the King to show his underthings was highly politically incorrect – Ark or no Ark! One of the commentaries I consulted stated:

“With the great importance attached to the clothing in the East, where the feelings upon this point are peculiarly sensitive and modest, a person was looked upon as stripped and naked if he had only taken off his upper garment. What Isaiah was directed to do, therefore, was simply opposed to common custom, and not to moral decency. He was to lay aside the dress of a mourner and preacher of repentance, and to have nothing on but his tunic (cetoneth); and in this, as well as barefooted, he was to show himself in public. This was the costume of a man who had been robbed and disgraced, or else of a beggar or prisoner of war.” (Delitzsch, 1:372)

So we have Isaiah – barefoot and in his Fruit of the Looms – walking around in public for three years. He was supposed to do this for THREE YEARS! We see that in verse:

Isaiah 20:3-4 (KJV) And the LORD said, Like as my servant Isaiah hath WALKED NAKED AND BAREFOOT THREE YEARS for a sign and wonder upon Egypt and upon Ethiopia;  [4]  So shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptians prisoners, and the Ethiopians captives, young and old, naked and barefoot, even with their buttocks uncovered, to the shame of Egypt.

Isaiah walked around town barefooted and looking like some of these confused people with their pants hanging down around their ankles for three years! Can you imagine the ridicule that Isaiah went through?

Isaiah did what God said without question.
And kept on doing it for three years!

Yet Isaiah never questioned God, but immediately responded and did as the Lord asked him to do. He did not hesitate. He did not argue. There is no indication that even GOD told Isaiah why he was to do as he did. God just said:

Shoes off.
Strip to the Fruit of the Looms.
Walk in public.

and Isaiah did it. What did Isaiah get out of doing what God said? Notice how God address Isaiah:

Isaiah 20:3 (KJV) And the LORD said, Like as MY SERVANT ISAIAH

Isaiah is MY SERVANT. I claim Isaiah. He has a special place in My Eternal YAHWEH Heart, because Isaiah loves me more than he loves anything or anyone else.

Isaiah loves Me more than he loves himself.
Isaiah is willing to go against political correctness, against the darkness.
Isaiah is not a dim bulb in the midst of the darkness.
He is willing to obey Me above all else.
Isaiah is MY Servant!

God Blesses Obedience

God blesses the Child who does what He says without question, without debate, without argument. What did Christ say?

John 14:15-16 (ESV) If you love Me, keep My commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever …

Obedience leads to blessing. If you love Jesus, you obey Him. If you obey Him, He sends his Spirit to be with you. One follows the other.

Beaten and mocked for preaching Christ, the Jewish rulers dragged Peter and the Apostles in front of an angry crowd. “Stop telling people about Jesus!” they were told. But Peter and the Apostles replied:

We must obey God rather than men. (Acts 5:29)

The Church today has capitulated to the darkness. We know what God has said. We know what He has endorsed, and what He has not endorsed. But rather than go against the world, rather than lose our tax exempt status and our financial perks, rather than be chided as haters and racists we would rather back away from His Word and go with public opinion. I watched a clip the other day where a comedienne I personally like named Ellen Degeneres thanked President Obama for changing her life. Thank you, President Obama, because I am now legally married to my wife”. I would that Ellen knew Christ and the power of His Word, and that such a lifestyle is not blessed by God. It is disobedient to His will. But many people live this way. Many who profess Christ live this way.

There is no blessing in disobedience, no blessing in delay in doing as God has asked. What did John say?

1 John 5:3 (ESV) For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.

What God asks us to do He will bless us in doing, if we will but trust Him. Isaiah immediately stripped down to his loin cloth and did as God said for three years. God told Isaiah at the beginning of his Book:

Isaiah 1:19-20 (NKJV) If you are willing and obedient, You shall eat the good of the land; 20 But if you refuse and rebel, You shall be devoured by the sword; For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

I have known men who professed they knew Christ, and yet refused to be baptized in water in obedience to our Lord’s command. Those men have gone beyond the veil into death. Are these professors with Christ or in a burning hell this very moment? I do not know. But I do know that if God has commanded it, it must be done. To be baptized in water is no grievous thing, nor is it a hardship. Walking around in your underwear for three years is grievous but bearable if God tells you to do it. Would you rather be baptized in water – something that takes only a few seconds – or walk around in your underwear three years. Tell me, quick. Which?

I have known professors of Christ who refuse to give but a pittance to God. God has given us everything, and asks that we in generosity give a small portion back. There are believers who skip Church on Sunday morning but attend other services so they can keep all their green paper in their pockets. I have known people who are niggardly, stingy, cheap, penny pinching for the things of God but extravagant in what they give to themselves. God tells His people:

Malachi 3:10 (ESV) Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.

Several years ago at another Church I asked the members to bring food to the Church Pantry. One of the members – I know not who – brought several sacks of expired food to the Church. By expired I mean the date stamp on the cans were 2-3 years out of date. They went shopping, replenished their cabinets, and brought the out of date food for the poor. God is not pleased with such stinginess. I have often gone through Church storage sheds and thrown away “donated” broken items that were given to God, while people kept the newer for themselves. God is not pleased.

Witnessing The Bible tells us that …

John 3:16 (KJV)   For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

God sent Jesus to save the world, and commands us to tell others about Him. Thankfully we do not need to do it in our underwear. God loves everyone, and just wants us to tell everyone that God made them and loves them. Look at your neighbor and tell them:

God made you and loves you!

That’s not hard. I was at a Bookstore with my wife last week, found a book I wanted, and went out to the car to wait on my wife. When she’s shopping I go sit in the car and read. A man with a long beard pulled up next to me, got out of his car, and said with a smile:

Are you here selling Bibles?”

He saw the Riverview signs on the side of my van. I said “No, I’m sitting here reading. But I’d love to tell you about the Lord.” As he walked away he said “What can you tell me about the Lord?” Before he went into the store I loudly said “The Lord made you and He loves you”. He stopped, turned and looked at me, and said …

I can agree with that”.

He went in the store, and I thought that was the end of it. So I went back to reading. After about 15 minutes (my wife is still shopping) the door opens and the man comes out, heading to my car. I prepare to tell him about the love of God in Christ when he walks up and says “I got this for you”. He grins as he hands me a little Gideon Bible that had a “Free” tag on it, something the store was giving away. I took it and thanked him for it. Then he handed me an old book he found, an old Bible Story book printed in 1904. He showed me the illustrations in it, and I went to hand it back to him. He said, “No, you keep it”, and walked away, got in his car, and drove off. What was God doing in all this? It was a test. Did I plant a seed of the Gospel? Or was this a Christian brother, or an angel entertained unaware? I don’t know. But God rewards faithfulness.

God Punishes Disobedience

Isaiah was to walk around in his underwear for three years. Put that in perspective with what God has asked US to do. I am reminded of how God came to a man named Jonah and told him …

Jonah 1:2 (KJV)  Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.

What did Jonah do? He ran away from what God told him to do. Jonah was – just as we are today – politically correct. He didn’t like Ninevites. Nineveh was the capital city of Assyria, and Assyria was an enemy of Israel, and Jonah hated Assyrians. So Jonah refused to do what God told him to do. Jonah only had to go to Nineveh and “Cry against it”, tell them they were dishonoring God and God was fed up with it. But Jonah refused. He ran away.

You can’t run away from God.

God found Jonah, and Jonah was thrown into the sea in the midst of a storm. Then God sent a Great Fish (Jonah 1:17) to swallow Jonah. Not a whale, but a great fish, a creature that God designed specifically for Jonah. God can do that. God can do anything God wants to do. So God sends a Great Fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah sits in the gastric juices of this Great Fish for three days and three nights. His clothing is digesting, his hair bleaching. It had to stink. When you disobey God there are consequences. Finally Jonah cries out and begs God to deliver him from the belly of this fish (Jonah 2:1). The Bible says:

Jonah 2:10 (KJV)  And the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.

Jonah was vomited out on the shores of Nineveh, and here he went into the city preaching as God had commanded. I suspect that Jonah was preaching nearly naked at this time, because the gastric juices of a fish would have partially digested his clothing. Jonah still did what God told him to do, did it badly, but God reigned. God always reigns.

When you do what God says there is blessing, but when you disobey God there are always consequences. And what God wants done will be done. If you disobey God, God will raise up another. But God’s will will always be accomplished!

God told another or His people called Abraham …

Genesis 22:2 (NKJV) … “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”

Abraham waited a hundred years for this boy to be born. Now God wants him to execute him. You would expect Abraham to say to God “I’d rather preach in my underwear”. What did Abraham say? NOTHING. Abraham rose early in the morning, and took his son Isaac to kill him as God asked. Once they got to the mountain Abraham tied the boy to the altar, took his knife, and prepared to end his life. God stopped him.

Genesis 22:12 (NKJV) … “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.”

There may be times when God asks us to do difficult things, but if God brings us TO it God will take us THROUGH it. We are to obey Him and His Word. Though all the world be against us, though no one stand with you, to obey God is always where the blessing lies. The writer of Hebrews said:

Hebrews 11:19 (NKJV) … {Abraham concluded} that God was able to raise {Isaac} up, even from the dead …

God had promised Abraham a seed, and God would not break His Word. What God asks us to do, to believe, to obey God will bless. Faith means to listen for the Voice of God, to hear what He says, and to obey Him. What God asks us to do is not unreasonable, nor is it overly difficult.

Why Did God Have Isaiah Preach In His Underwear?

God used Isaiah to start a conversation among the Egyptians that could lead to a conversion. The question God wanted the Egyptians to ask is:

Isaiah 20:6 (KJV) And THE INHABITANT OF THIS ISLE SHALL SAY IN THAT DAY, BEHOLD, SUCH IS OUR EXPECTATION, whither we flee for help to be delivered from the king of Assyria: and HOW SHALL WE ESCAPE?

God wanted the lost to examine their hopeless and helpless situation and ask “How shall we escape?”. How indeed?

Hebrews 2:2-3 (NKJV) For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, 3 how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him,

The inhabitants of the isles cannot rely on themselves, nor on Egypt. How shall they escape destruction? Only through God can they be saved. God will save whosoever will. But there must be repentance, there must be obedience. Oh, how God would save you, dear Sinner, as He saved this sinner, this awful grievous sinner. Oh how God would bless your life if you would quit debating Him and begin instead to walk with Him. He calls you to His side. Isaiah preached naked knowing God would protect him, and God will protect you. But you must hear Him. You must come to Him by His Son. You must receive Christ as Lord and Savior, then live following Him for blessing. God blesses naked obedience, but will not honor the disobedient and half hearted. Receive Him as He is and learn of Him this very day. For Christ’s sake, and for yours.

May God touch your hearts with His Word.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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