Isaiah 20:4-6 (ESV)
So shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptian captives and the Cushite exiles, both the young and the old, naked and barefoot, with buttocks uncovered, the nakedness of Egypt. Then they shall be dismayed and ashamed because of Cush their hope and of Egypt their boast. And the inhabitants of this coastland will say in that day, ‘Behold, this is what has happened to those in whom we hoped and to whom we fled for help to be delivered from the king of Assyria! And we, how shall we escape?’”
Verse 6 says, “This is what has happened to those in whom we hoped.” God has a way of knocking out all the props in our lives. When we look to someone or something other than God to provide what only God can provide, we have established idols in our lives. Rather than looking to God, Israel had been looking to Egypt and Cush for her security. Heathen nations had become her gods. God will bring about her gods’ demise. The very thing Israel trusted would fall to the enemy Israel feared.
It is worth asking what we are trusting. Is our hope in our weapons, our government, our constitutional rights, our business expertise, our strong work ethic, our family, our friends, or our good credit rating? All of those will fail. Multiple times in our lives we have faced uncertainty about where we would live, or how we would survive. God has provided every time. He has never used the same source twice, and he has always surprised us with the answer. Whether in little or in much, God has always provided.
We must confess that as American believers we have lived less like believers and more like products of our culture. We have put more faith in our guns and our constitutional rights than in God. We have put more emphasis on our families than on the one who said that families would be divided over him (Lk 12:51-53). Two chapters later Jesus warned that one cannot be his disciple unless he “hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life” (Lk 14:26). We have put more hope in a strong economy than in the God who said in Matthew 6:28-30,
And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, …But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
When we look to people or things to provide the security, significance, and satisfaction that only God can provide, those people or things become our idols. God will not share his glory. With Israel, we need to ask: In what or in whom are we trusting? Anything less than God will eventually fail.