Israel has gone into captivity. It would appear no one can repel the Assyrian hordes. Hezekiah himself has raided the temple to pay off Sennacherib and buy some time. He used the time to create an alliance with the pharaoh of Egypt, but it would not help. In fact, Sennacherib will refer to Egypt as a “splintered reed of a staff” (2 Kings 18:21).
In a startling turn of events, God tells Isaiah in chapter twenty to take off his clothes and go about naked and barefoot (the NIV has “stripped,” but the word means “naked”). Such an embarrassing appearance would surely cause Isaiah’s neighbors far and wide to talk – especially after three years. But Isaiah’s explanation is that he is not the only naked person they will see. Soon, other naked people will appear, the very ones Judah has relied on for help against Assyria, the people of Egypt and Cush, not captured and enslaved by Assyria.
No one can help Judah. No one except God. He wants Judah to turn to Him. But they will not.
With barbarians at the gate and surrounding nations falling like dominos, what’s a nation to do? Turn to the Lord? Really? What kind of solution is that!
Isaiah says it is the only solution that makes sense. We’d do well to remember it before the barbarians arrive.