Isaiah 28:20 For the bed is shorter than that a man can stretch on it: and the covering narrower than he can wrap himself in it.
In this life we find many things that seem to be useless - things that do not to serve their intended purpose. Two are mentioned in this text. They are beds that are too short and covers that are too small. Can you imagine trying to get a good night's sleep on a bed that is only half as long as you are? Can you imagine trying to keep warm on a cold night with a blanket that is not large enough to cover you? When we think of a bed and blankets, we inevitably have mental impression of getting a warm, cozy, restful night's sleep. However, if the beds are too short and the covers too small, we are lured into a false impression and a good night's rest is out of the question.
At the time of this writing by Isaiah, Hezekiah was thought to be king of Judah. It is also thought that the ten tribes of Israel would soon be, or were already, taken into Assyrian captivity by Shalmaneser. This is indicated by the first few verses of the text chapter. On the other hand the two tribes, Judah and Benjamin, were going through fairly favorable times. But Isaiah warns that they would soon go back into a sinful state by profaning the temple through idol worship. They would soon start mocking and ridiculing the prophets of God, refusing to heed their teaching, and would become scoffers of God.
They would develop a false confidence by thinking they were secure from every evil. They would become self-righteous; not depending on God for guidance and protection. In Verse 12 Isaiah wrote, To whom He said, this is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear. God had warned them that their security and protection from enemies depended on their trust in Him. With this trust in God, Judah would rest for their weariness. In a word, they would figuratively get a refreshing night's sleep. Yet, we note here that they would not hear. They would not place their confidence in God. Rather they would choose a self-confident attitude. A false confidence would develop. One in which they thought they would find peace and rest. It is here that the lesson text applies. From their false confidence they would not find rest. Why? Because false confidence is like a bed that is too short and covers that are too narrow! From this text, consider these lessons for us today.
The False Confidence of Self-Righteousness - Instead of deferring to the righteous judgement of God (Romans 2:5), some develop a false confidence of judgement. Many pass judgement on others, pointing out their sins, yet ignoring the sins in their own lives. For wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. (Romans 2:1). We develop a false confidence that God will overlook our sins. Paul wrote this warning in the form of a rhetorical question, And thinkest thou this O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgement of God? (Romans 2:3). The obvious answer is an emphatic NO!
The False Confidence of Self-Trust - People face many decisions every hour of every day. How do we deal with decision making? Do we rely on our own instincts, on other's advise, on our education, on our past successes or failures, or on our experience? In 2 Corinthians 1, we find Paul faced with terrifying decision making. Paul indicates that he, and those with him, were severely persecuted while teaching in Asia, insomuch that we despaired even of life. Where did Paul place his trust? Facing death, Paul said, We should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead (See Vss. 8-9). Sure, we should do every thing possible to make good judgements, using our instincts, advice, education, and experience. But why not also include the wisdom and guidance of God? Seek His advice in every decision that you make. The chances are good that you'll make much better decisions when you quit trusting in yourself alone.
The False Confidence of Riches - There are some that pursue wealth; some whose object in life is accumulating riches. Not ill-gotten gain through robbery, deception, or extortion, but riches gained by honest means. Most people want security in life. Many think that wealth would give them this security. Security is a relative term. To the beggar on the street, security is a warm set of clothing and a week's supply of food. To the graduate from school, it is a job with a stable, progressive company in a growing field. To the newly weds, it's their first home. To the middle aged, it is a retirement plan. To the multi-millionaire executive, it is stock options, etc. From this illustration, we conclude that security is relative as well as elusive. When one level of achievement is attained, one's security becomes the next level.
Paul told Timothy, But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts (1 Tim. 6:9). He then advised Timothy to teach others where trust should be placed. Timothy was exhorted to teach them that are rich in this world, that they be not high minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; that they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life (1 Tim. 6:17-19). Where do we place our trust? Do we place our trust in riches that will benefit life here on earth, or in the riches of good, charitable works that lay up treasures in heaven, that will benefit eternal life?
The writer of Proverbs sums this lesson up very well. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not onto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths. Our confidence should be in God. This is a true confidence that will lead to eternal rewards. Confidence in God is like a bed that will give us a good night's sleep and covers that will keep us warm and secure. False hope is like a bed that is too short and covers that are too narrow.