My bible study for the book of Isaiah should have ended two months ago, but I am still in chapter thirty-eight. I want to blame life, but I have to admit that Isaiah has been such a complex book for me to understand and fully grasp in a month as I had planned.
When I read Chapter 20, I was astounded by what I found there. After a deep contextual study and a couple of online commentaries later, I finally comprehended what the chapter was all about.
Let me lay down for you Isaiah chapter 20 real quick.
Prophet Isaiah starts by telling us about a supreme commander sent by Sargon, King of Assyria, to destroy Ashdod, a Philistine city. The commander in chief succeeds in the mission.
When the people of Judah come to know of Ashdod’s fate, they are terrified and worried that they would be next in Assyria’s mission to overpower all kingdoms and rise as the superpower.
Then God commands Isaiah to walk naked for three years, as a testament to what he was about to do. Instead of heeding this sign— of Isaiah walking naked— the Israelites look to Ethiopia and Egypt for protection.
Three years later, God puts to shame the Ethiopians and Egyptians. They are led into exile as captives by the Assyrians. Interestingly, Isaiah 20: 4 says that the Assyrians lead Egyptians away, barefoot and naked.
The people of Judah, still terrified, still not understanding what God was doing, ask: And we, now that our hope is gone, how shall we escape?
I believe that Isaiah twenty portrays one critical mistake that we Christians make while trying to survive life.
We sometimes place our hope and security in the wrong people and things. In other words, we have planted idols in our lives unconsciously.
When our lives are not mapping out as expected, we desperately try to make other people our security. We clutch onto them so furiously, afraid that if they let go, we would come undone. Sometimes, our security may not be other human beings. It could be our jobs, our talents, or our wealth.
Without realizing it, we make idols of these things and push God to second place. We build our identity around them so much that life would no longer be meaningful for us if they were taken away from us.
We hope in everything else, but the one person who should be our security. We chase money, validation, and fame, thinking that they will be our escape— a way out of the pain and woes of life. Sometimes, especially in the difficult seasons, we are blinded by these flashy things before our eyes that promise false security.
But God, being the ultimate creator and one who can not share his place of glory, purposes to take all our false security away. He strips down and tears from our lives the very things we think we can’t live without.
Still not understanding his plans like the people of Judah, we may ask: And we, how shall we escape?
- Now that I am unemployed, how shall I get through?
- Now that he broke up with me, how shall I face people?
- Now that I lost everything, what shall people think?
“There is no place of security for the people of God, other than to be found in the rule of God: All expectation not centered in God is doomed to disappoint and discomfiture.” (Unknown)
With all the hardships and heartbreaks in life, it’s hard to put our security in God. To remember that he is greater than everything else and that at the end of it all, God is all that matters. However, being intentional about our relationship with Christ can help us learn to place our security in him and him alone.
“Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look at the earth beneath; for the heavens will vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment, and those who live on it will die like gnats, but my salvation will be forever, and my deliverance will never be ended.” (Isaiah 51:6)
How to always place your security in God
It can be hard to realize when your security is in something or someone else and not God. Here’s how to make God your only hope and secure place.
1) Ask him to show you the false securities in your life
In Matthew 7:7, Christ assures us that if we ask, God shall grant us our desires. As a teen, I always thought this chapter was about physical providence only. As I have matured as a Christian, I’ve come to realize it’s so much more than physician providence. If we ask God to help us uncover the false securities in our lives, he is gracious enough to do it.
2) Pray for guidance
Once God reveals all the false security in your life, ask him to show you the next step. Sometimes, this may involve letting go of people, items, and other clutches. It may not be an easy thing to purge your life, but if it takes you a step closer to Christ, then it has to be done.
“Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.” (Psalms 119:105)
3) Obey and let grace carry you through
Yes, it is hard and sometimes painful to see the things we hoped fall apart. Still, there’s no better way to do it than to obey and move forward, trusting God.
Despite all this, God’s grace will always be sufficient to carry you through into rest and your next season.
And finally, understand that in Christ, we can find the peace, validation, and security that we are always seeking as human beings.