This brief chapter gives us two lessons:
1) Do not put anything in the place of God
2) Go to God for help in times of need
As a prophet, Isaiah wore sackcloth, the attire of one in mourning. Isaiah was mourning the fact that God’s people the Israelites, and many others besides were openly disobeying God. When God tells Isaiah to walk naked and barefoot in verse 2, it is to signify that the Egyptians and the Ethiopians would be led away and stripped of their glory by the Assyrian king.
It is very interesting how God not only spoke prophecy through Isaiah in words, but also through this action, which seems like a sort of performance theater. Isaiah would have certainly gotten much attention as a prophet dressed in sackcloth. As one perpetually in mourning, speaking as the oracle of God, he was probably much maligned and mostly ignored. But to then go naked as a way to express the failures of these nations, Isaiah most likely garnered even more attention.
Through Isaiah, God’s message is clear to us, even if it may have not been clear to the people at the time: do not trust in other people, nations, ideas or things as an answer to problems. The people in these nations would ultimately come to know that they could not trust Assyria and they should have put their trust in the Lord their God.
“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?’ ” Isaiah 20:6
“For You are my hope, O Lord GOD; You are my trust from my youth.” Psalms 71:5
““Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, And whose hope is the LORD.” Jeremiah 17:7