A friend of mine captured it well in one of his social media posts: “When I was hoping to get a break from the COVID/politics news cycle, I wasn’t asking for the whole state to be set on fire.” It’s been a crazy 24+ hours. Haven’t been affected directly by the fires in the area, but many in our congregation have had to evacuate. Honestly, feels like a bit of piling on. A once in thirty year wind toppling a power pole that sparks a fire during record-high temps and record-low humidity during a time of an unprecedented pandemic and unimaginable civil unrest. Come on!
Maybe that’s why the following text “popped” this morning:
“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)
The “you” in this passage is Cyrus, king of Persia (45:1). God’s prophet identifying the pagan king as the one God would raise up, and stir up (Ezra 1:1), to end the exile and return a remnant to the land to rebuild the temple and Jerusalem.
The “I” of the passage? The LORD. The God besides whom there is no God. The One like no other. The One who equips even those who don’t know Him to accomplish His will. The One who is the Author of light and darkness. The One who makes well-being and creates calamity.
Calamity. If ever there was a single word to capture this season, calamity could be that word. And ultimately were does calamity come from? From the Creator of all things, even the Creator of calamity.
And for what purpose?
. . . 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.
The LORD, the Creator of all things, wants people, all people, to know Him. So, ask the question again, “And for what purpose?”
“And this is eternal life, that they know You the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”
(John 17:3 ESV)
Lot to pray about right now. A fire still out of control. People displaced from their homes. Firefighters on the front-lines, many without any real break for almost 48 hours. But would I pray too that through this calamity, people might know there is a God? A God like no other? A God who creates even calamity and seasons of darkness that He might draw them to the Light and point them to the way of eternal well-being? I’m thinkin’ . . .
. . . that people may know, there is none besides You . . .
By Your grace. For people’s good. For Your glory.