Schoolchildren in "tornado-prone" areas of the country are familiar with the tornado drill. When the alarm sounds, they are to file quickly out of the classroom, perhaps carrying large binders or hardcover books, and follow the teacher to a basement room or interior hallway.
Once there, they assume a kneeling position and try to protect their heads with the binders or books. But, any safety provided by the tornado drill and secure location depends on an advance warning that a tornado is coming.
However, all the drills mean nothing if people don't know when a tornado is headed their way.
The prophet Isaiah issues an advance warning in Isaiah 20 today, alerting the nations of the looming wrath of God. The coming ruin prepared for Babylon is so terrifying that the prophet shakes in fear and goes to great lengths to act as a watchman.
Already he has walked around naked and barefoot for three years in order to warn Egypt and Cush. Now he will stand like a sentinel in a tower for an indefinite number of long days and nights so that Babylon might hear of judgement and be warned.
Isaiah's heart was broken over the refusal of the people to heed the warnings and call to repentance. Not only did he care about his own nation of Judah but he was also faithful to God's instruction to warn the enemy nations around him.
We too need to be heartbroken over sin and faithful in proclaiming God's message of sin, judgement, repentance and faith.
APPLYING THE WORD: One of Judah's sins was their refusal to obey God's instruction to repent and lament. And in that day did the Lord God of hosts call to weeping, and to mourning, and to boldness, and to girding with sackcloth: And behold joy and gladness, slaying oxen, and killing sheep, eating flesh and drinking wine: let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we shall die.
Isaiah 22:12-13 (KJV)
PERSONAL QUESTIONS TO ASK OURSELVES: Do we have times of confession and repentance in our relationship with God? Does our church, small groups or Sunday school class practice regular times of lament?
These times are important for keeping our focus on the Holiness and Glory of God!