The One Who Creates Calamity

I am the LORD, and there is no other,
besides me there is no God;
I equip you, though you do not know me,

that people may know, from the rising of the sun
and from the west, that there is none besides me;
I am the LORD, and there is no other.

I form light and create darkness,
I make well-being and create calamity,
I am the LORD, who does all these things.

Isaiah 45:5-7 ESV

In context, Isaiah is prophesying the time when God will use Cyrus, king of Persia, to permit the nation of Israel to return to Jerusalem and “build Him a house.” [see 2 Chron. 36:22 ESV for the fulfilled prophecy] It is the only time in scripture where God calls a Gentile “His anointed” (see Isa. 45:1).

At first glance, this may look like ancient history. What does this have to do with Christ’s church in 2015? What does it have to do with you?

Let’s walk through a few key pieces of this:

I equip you, though you do not know me

The word “equip” is “often seen as “gird” in other translations and in Hebrew means “to encompass” as well as “to equip.” The idea of encompassing is one of surrounding and having or holding within. It also conveys the concept of causing something to take place. It speaks of the fact that it is God who works in men’s hearts to bring about His purposes.

I am the LORD, and there is no other.

This phrase “I am the LORD” is repeated three times here and speaks of God’s veritable Lordship over all things. The additional repetition of “and there is no other” emphasizes His uniqueness in this role.

earth light and dark

Photo credit:

I form light and create darkness,
I make well-being and create calamity,

This speaks of God’s omnipotence in creation and of God’s sovereignty in both good/evil. The word for “calamity” in Hebrew is ra which Strong’s translates 124 times as evil. Here is a point that may be difficult to grasp because of our limited understanding as finite beings or because we simply do not want to see God this way. The very clear indication here is that God made both light and darkness and good and evil (note that I am not saying that God created sin.)

Is this shocking to you? Here’s what it has to do with your view of the storms you may be in.

It is critical for a wise and godly perspective that rests in Him to see that the creation of both good and evil indicates God’s absolute sovereignty. If God does not, at minimum, allow/permit evil and suffering, and at maximum, create or bring it about, then how can He be sovereign? If He does not, He is only partially sovereign and that means some things are out of His control.

Further, if this were true, He would have no way to bring about His good plan and purpose because He cannot fully oversee all things to their intended conclusion.

So the storm you’re in is created, shaped, and brought about by Him. You may not fully understand it until you reach His presence. You don’t have to even like it (and who has not said this!). Yet He intends to shape you in and through it.

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