Isaiah 20:1–6 (NKJV)
20:1 In the year that Tartan came to Ashdod, when Sargon the king of Assyria sent him, and he fought against Ashdod and took it, 2 at the same time the LORD spoke by Isaiah the son of Amoz, saying, “Go, and remove the sackcloth from your body, and take your sandals off your feet.” And he did so, walking naked and barefoot.
3 Then the LORD said, “Just as My servant Isaiah has walked naked and barefoot three years for a sign and a wonder against Egypt and Ethiopia, 4 so shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptians as prisoners and the Ethiopians as captives, young and old, naked and barefoot, with their buttocks uncovered, to the shame of Egypt. 5 Then they shall be afraid and ashamed of Ethiopia their expectation and Egypt their glory. 6 And the inhabitant of this territory will say in that day, ‘Surely such is our expectation, wherever we flee for help to be delivered from the king of Assyria; and how shall we escape?’ ”
Ashdod was taken, overcome, by Sargon, the King of Assyria. Assyria was a strong nation and army. However, in this chapter the Lord supercharged Assyria with this powerful, visual sign of Isaiah walking around Israel naked. After this stark image was embedded in the minds of Israel, God then told them that Assyria would parade Ethiopia and Egypt around in like manner after they conquer them in battle. The expectation would be that Israel and the surrounding nations would have the same fear of destruction and capture that Egypt and Ethiopia suffered.
The message here is that shame will come when sin is present. This chapter is stark in its description of Isaiah walking through town naked. The image is meant to instill fear and clarity as to the impending doom coming down against any who ignore the laws of God and disobey them. This image is meant to prepare Israel for what is to come and to let them know that, although their judgment is pending, that God will also measure out punishment to the evil nations surrounding them and bring Israel to a place of restoration. God is good, even when He is “bad.” God is never bad, but sometimes we think He is bad when we don’t get our way. However, God is simply helping us find our way back to truth and holiness so He can bless us again. Let Him have His way. His way is good, His way is best!