Let Me Be a Peg
There are verses in the Bible which seem so strange to us because we do not understand the culture when they were written. For example, Peter going “up on the housetop to pray” (Acts 10:9) seems so strange until we learn that the roofs of the houses were flat and a vital part of the lives of people in the first century. The same is true when we read about “ pegs ” in the house of those in Bible times.
In Isaiah 22, we read of two men who are described by God as being “ pegs. ” What possible meaning could this have? To understand this, consider that many of the homes and buildings in ancient times had nothing like we have, when we use closets and cabinets to store our possessions. Their possessions were placed on pieces of wood embedded in the walls of buildings as they were built. Clothing was not strewn on the floor (like we find in some rooms of teenagers today) but were hung on these pegs. Ezekiel 15:3 shows that these pegs were used as a place to hang vessels. They were a vital part of the lives of the Jews but could seem so insignificant and be easily undervalued.
There was an important person named Shebna in the kingdom of King Hezekiah (he is called a steward, a treasurer), who was so evil that God sent Isaiah to deliver a personal rebuke for the evil he had done. He had an important place, but he had failed to fulfill his responsibility. God said of him, “The peg that is fastened in the secure place will be removed and cut down and fall, and the burden that was on it will be cut off” (Isa. 22:25). The peg had failed to fulfill his purpose.
Isaiah then described the godly man who was to replace Shebna. God said He would clothe this man, Eliakim, with the robe which had belonged to Shebna and give him great authority. “The key of the house of David I will lay on his shoulder; so he shall open, and no one shall shut; and he shall shut, and no one shall open” (22:22). Then, he added, “I will fasten him as a peg in a secure place, and he will become a glorious throne to his father’s house.”
What can we learn from this imagery? Far too many think that unless the service they render to God is visible and appears important, then there is little they can do for God. Nothing can be farther from the truth. There were important men in that day—the great prophet Isaiah and the godly king, Hezekiah—yet God looked at “ pegs ” and saw how important their “insignificant” roles were in the big picture.
The world may think that only those who are decorated “pillars and columns” are important. It is wrong. God sees the worth of “ pegs. ” God help us to be His “ pegs. ”