XII.5. What About the Short Bed in Isaiah 28:20

Question:  Would you please explain what it means in Isaiah 28:20 when speaking of a "short bed."

 "For the bed is shorter than that a man can stretch himself on it: and the covering narrower than he can wrap himself in it."

Answer:  This is a figure of speech by which the prophet Isaiah is trying to impress upon the children of Israel as to how hopeless, and useless, it is for them, to try and save themselves by their own means. Instead of going to the Lord and trusting the true and living God, they were going to the other nations and trying to solve their problems in their own way.

The Lord compares the futile efforts on the part of the nation of Israel to that of a man trying to keep warm in a bed which is too short for him, and also having insufficient covering. It is an oriental figure of speech designed to illustrate the absolute necessity of looking to, and trusting only the Lord for their salvation.

Isaiah also warns the people of Israel not to trust the leadership of their leaders, the prophets and the priests, for they had become nothing but drunks. Notice in Isaiah 28:7.

"But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment."

Many there are, today, that are trusting in their pastor and their church membership, instead of searching the Scriptures for themselves to see what the Lord has to say.

John 5:39 says,

 "Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me (Christ)."

The word "think" in this verse is the Greek "DOKEO" and means to form an opinion, right or wrong. If one is trusting church tradition (Mark 7:7,9); or a preacher’s philosophy (Colossians 2:8), they will find when they stand before the Lord that the "bed of tradition," and the "blanket of philosophy" were insufficient for the covering of their sins.

Jeremiah warns in 17:5,

"Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm,..."

God’s word is clear concerning eternal life.

 "He that believeth on the Son (Jesus Christ) hath everlasting life, and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him." - John 3:36

"It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man."- Psalm 118:8

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