An open Bible and a cup of coffee.

In the year that Tartan came unto Ashdod, (when Sargon the king of Assyria sent him,) and fought against Ashdod, and took it; 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. 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; 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. And they shall be afraid and ashamed of Ethiopia their expectation, and of Egypt their glory. 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?”
(Isaiah 20:1-6)

Today’s lengthy verse passage powerfully expresses a constant theme in the Bible, namely, the folly of trusting in man rather than God. In Isaiah’s day, Egypt and Ethiopia (not to be confused with modern Ethiopia) were considered impressively powerful and influential nations. Many felt the temptation to align themselves with them as protection against the cruel Assyrians. In order to warn people about the uselessness of trusting in man (Psalm 60:11; 108:12; 118:8), not to mention the dangers in doing so (Jeremiah 17:5), the LORD called Isaiah to be a powerful 3-year object lesson. Just as the prophet suffered public humility, so too would Egypt and Ethiopia at the hands of the Assyrians. Trusting in these nations would therefore be a huge mistake. We can take this same teaching and apply it to mankind’s most hated and feared enemy, death itself. Men have been fighting death since the dawn of human history. Our world spends trillions of dollars on medical personnel, facilities and equipment, and, above all, drugs of every conceivable kind. Not only that, but billions are spent in the pursuit of health and longevity through mountains of self-help books, supplements, gyms, and personal trainers. No matter what grandiose promises are made, however, death comes for everyone. New Age type gurus such as Mary Baker Eddy and her Christian Science cult assure us that death is an illusion, that no one really dies. Nevertheless, Eddy herself died of pneumonia, diseased, and addicted to morphine. The details vary, but death has overcome, and will overcome, every self-proclaimed guru, faith-healer, or would-be Messiah. In all the world there is only one blessed exception. Jesus of Nazareth alone was raised to glory, the supreme vindication of His radical claims about Himself (John 2:18-19; 10:14-18; Acts 5:30-32; 17:31; Romans 1:1-4). Just as it would be foolish to trust in Egypt and Ethiopia against Assyria, it makes no sense to trust in mortal men to protect us from death. Christ is our only hope. After all, “how shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?” (Hebrews 2:3)!

God bless,

pastor john