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Friday, February 08, 2008

Serving God - NAKED?

Have you ever read things in the Bible that really just make you cringe? Actually there are many things that make me cringe. They range from convition about my sin to the wrath of my God ... and everything in between. But there is one chapter in the Bible that just makes me stand in awe. It is Isaiah 20. Have you ever read that chapter?

I'll paraphrase here, but God told Isaiah, "take off your clothes and sandals," and Isaiah did it, going about naked. (Isaiah 20:1-2)

It's not too onerous yet. God wanted Isaiah naked. No big deal. But read the next part.

Then the Lord said, My servant, Isaiah, has been walking around naked and barefoot for three years. This is a sign, a symbol of the terrible troubles I will bring ... (Isaiah 20:3)

Can you just imagine! Isaiah, one of the greatest prophets to ever walk the face of the earth. Spiritually mature. A follower of God in every way. This was a good man, who dedicated his life to serving God. He already had some pretty nasty work to do. Prophets, by definition, are unpopular and scorned by everyone --- except those who don't know them.

But to make a point, God has Isaiah strip naked and walk around, without even a pair of sandals --- for three years! I don't know about you, but when I think about dedicating my life to God and serving His every whim, examples like this are sobering!

Jesus told us to "count the cost." He said there would be a price to pay for being His chosen people. Do you suppose most of us can have any clue what that means? I suspect that our dear brother Isaiah had a much more acute comprehension of what that means than any of us could ever acquire.

Crossing the Red Sea, almost sacrificing your beloved son, slaying a giant with a sling-shot, having a virgin birth. Quite frankly, I wonder how those things stack up to being made to walk around naked for three years --- just so God can make a point with some sinners.

Frankly, I wonder if I could be strong enough to do it with a glad heart. Let me just go ahead and confess that I think I'd be arguing with God. "Come on, Lord! Why can't you just write in stone tablets? Moses didn't have to run around naked in front of everyone. This isn't fair!"

What is the cost of serving God? What is He asking you and I to do? I don't know about you, but Isaiah 20 helps me put it in perspective. Whatever God asks me to do, I think I will just say, "Yes, sir!" and consider myself fortunate.

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