Isaiah’s Symbolic Warning to Judah
What measures did Isaiah take to warn Judah against trusting in Egypt?
Isaiah, at the instruction of God, went about “naked and barefoot” (like a prisoner of war) for a period of three years in order to dramatically warn Judah (under Hezekiah) against the folly of trusting in Egypt (or any foreign powers) in an effort to stand against the growing Assyrian threat.
It is interesting to note that even the Assyrian messengers sent to intimidate Hezekiah warned him against trusting in Egypt’s help (see 2 Kings 18:19-20). The Assyrian messengers, however, also told Hezekiah and the people of Jerusalem that they were foolish for trusting in the Lord (see 2 Kings 18:28-30). They tried to intimidate the people into casting themselves on the mercy of Assyria (see 2 Kings 18:31-32).
Isaiah’s symbolic, enacted prophecy also depicted the fate that awaited Egypt.
Practical Consideration: God often goes to great lengths to warn us of danger.
Isaiah went about “barefoot and naked” (Isaiah 20:1-6) for a period of three years in an effort to warn Judah of the folly of trusting in foreign nations rather than God. He enacted his message to get the attention of the people. God loves us enough to take great measures to warn us of danger. Such measures leave us without excuse if we persist on a sinful course and suffer as a result.