How Shall We Escape?

Isaiah 20:5-6. “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?”

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Israel chose her sin; the nation turned from God to worship the idols of the surrounding people. The consequence, of which they were warned many times, was the be conquered and subjugated to Assyria. The could not escape.

The ones they had depended upon for help could not help them. Ethiopia had been their hope, and it fell to Assyria.  Egypt had been the glory of escape, and it fell to Assyria.

This isle  refers to all of Palestine, which also came under the devastating invasion of Assyria.

There are those in America today who are warning of the consequences of our having forsaken God. We will not get to choose the consequences for our sin.  I wonder how many of us listen, but do not hear.

 

Naked and Barefoot

Isaiah 20:3-4. “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.”

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The Assyrians were not known for their kindness.  They were harsh masters, using shame and belittlement to intimidate their captives.  Isaiah was a walking, talking object lesson of what was to come when Assyria swept down and conquered the land.

Isaiah is a Sign from God

Isaiah  20: 1-2. ” 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.”

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We now go back to the imminent attack of Assyria on Judah. The six verses in this chapter are in Israel’s immediate future.

This chapter was a warning to Israel not to depend upon the  help of Egypt and Ethiopia against Sargon, but to depend wholly on God.  Assyria had already conquered Syria, Ephraim, and Philistia, and was now ready to conquer Judah (2 Kings 16:5-18; 37.) Tartan was one of the generals of Assyria. (Sargon is thought to be the same as Sennacherib.)

At the same time, God spoke to Isaiah, telling him to remove his clothing and his shoes. And Isaiah did it. He was to be a sign from God, a warning that would grab their attention, as he walked naked and barefoot as he spoke to the people.

You can be sure he had their attention.  I have wondered how hard it was for Isaiah to be obedient. It was a humiliating thing that God asked of him.   It  seems, though, that he didn’t hesitate to obey.

 

 

Peaceful Traffic

Isaiah19: 23-25. “In that day shall there be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian shall come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians shall serve with the Assyrians. In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land: Whom the Lord of hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel mine inheritance.”

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Considering the antipathy of these three nations down through history, this is an amazing prophecy, During the Millenial Reign of Jesus Christ, there will be a highway that unites these nations, with Israel in the middle being a blessing to both Egypt and Assyria. They will trade and work together, the land will be blessed, and all will be converted to belief in God.

Here’s another picture that strikes my fancy, though I don’t know that there’s any bibical basis for it.  It combines the Old Testament story of the Israelites crossing the Red Sea with the prophecy of a highway through Egypt, Israel, and Assyria:

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Sunday Morning Coffee: Hair

I was at a birthday party last night with some good  friends.  I got to reminiscing with a dear friend who is close to my age. We were talking about how long it used to take us to get ready for church on a Sunday morning.  Mostly it was all about hair.

We’re talking about the early  1970’s.  Hair was getting bigger,  taking us toward the 80s when there was more hair than  you could imagine.

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Today, people would do this for a Halloween party 🙂  Everyone had a perm, because lots of curl and lots of body were very important.

It used to take a lot more time back then.  We tortured our hair with teasing, perms, hot rollers, and gallons of hairspray. To be on time for church, you had to give yourself about two hours of lead time. If there were also little kids to feed and dress, you needed even more.

So we were talking about how thankful we are for today’s simpler, low-maintenance styles.

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All it takes today is a good cut, some practice with a blow-dryer and a round brush, and you’re done. If you’re fortunate enough to have some natural wave or curl, all you need after you shampoo is some mousse or other styling product. Put it in, let it dry, comb it out, and you’re out the door.

So I was thinking about all this; how styles change over time. Once we thought that big, big hair was the only way to look good. Now we  look back and wondered how we ever thought it was attractive. As my friend and I chatted and laughed, I was watching her face. Here is something that has never changed in the 40+ years we’ve known each other–her kindness, her faithfulness, her thoughtfulness. The years have left their mark on both of us, but our friendship remains unchanged. She and her husband, who is facing some very serious health issues,  have remained our friends through all the changes those years have brought. They’re part of our family.

Friends like that, no matter how other things may change, are a treasure.  A gift from God.

“Make new friends, but keep the old; one is silver, the other is gold.”

 

 

Millenial Blessings

Isaiah 19:19-22. “In that day shall there be an altar to the Lord in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar at the border thereof to the Lord. And it shall be for a sign and for a witness unto the Lord of hosts in the land of Egypt: for they shall cry unto the Lord, because of the oppressors, and He shall send them a Saviour, and a Great One, and He shall deliver them. And the Lord shall be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians shall know the Lord in that day, and shall do sacrifice and oblation: yea, they shall vow a vow unto the Lord, and perform it. And the Lord shall smite Egypt: He shall smite and heal it: and they shall return even to the Lord,and He shall be intreated of them, and shall heal them.”

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There are many who see God only through the lenses of His justice and vengeance. They ignore the part about His healing, once a person, a group, or a nation has repented of their sin and turned to Him. He was just as merciful in the Old Testament as He is in the New Testament; God is not the problem.

SIN is the problem!  Feeling free to sin because, you know, God forgives, is just foolish and short-sighted.

If I were a preacher, I’d be hammering this one home. We sin; God judges; we repent; God heals and forgives. OR–we sin, God judges; we get bitter and turn from Him; He allows judgment to continue.  It’s our choice. I see so many people in my work who believe that God is to blame for every difficulty in life. Exactly the opposite is true.

We choose sin, and we pay the consequence.   Remember the old law of physics:  For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.  The same is true of our relationship with God, except that He is more merciful than we deserve.

In That Day

Isaiah 19:16-18. “In that day shall Egypt be like unto women: and it shall be afraid and fear because of the shaking of the hand of the Lord of hosts, which He shaketh over it. And the land of Judah shall be a terror unto Egypt, every one that maketh mention thereof shall be afraid in himself, because of the counsel of the Lord of hosts, which He hath determined against it. In that day shall five cities in the land of Egypt speak the language of Canaan, and swear to the Lord of hosts: one shall be called, The city of destruction.”

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“In that day” is the immediate fall of Egypt as well as its future fall when Christ returns. Judah will become the instrument of judgment. The attitude of Egypt toward Israel would be changed, even to the extent of five Egyptian cities adopting Hebrew, the language of Israel, as its common tongue.  This particular prophecy could be considered to have been fulfilled when Alexander the Great conquered Egypt, and Hellenistic Greek became the common tongue in Canaan and elsewhere and was adopted in Egypt (where the Septuagint Version was produced.

In verse 18, the “city of destruction” or literally Ir-ha-heres, could indicate the destruction of idolatry. That destruction took place after the successive invasions of the Assyrians, Chaldeans, Persians, and Greeks.

In that day also brings us to the coming of the second advent of Christ, when the land of Judah becomes the center of world government and is a terror to those who resist it.