February 2023

‘I form the light and create darkness’ Isaiah 45.7 (NIV)

Light and darkness are part of our everyday life. At this stage of the year, we are moving towards more light each day in our part of the world.

Our Bible opens with the story of creation. The universe is described as formless and desolate. Everything is in total darkness. And God commanded:  ‘let there be light’.

At the time of Isaiah, the prophet was trying to put a context to what came next. Day and night were followed by the origins of humankind. Here we find the idea of the beginning of sin and suffering in the world. The prophet is looking through the lens of a chosen people, the people of Israel.

A century and a half before this time, I AM told of Cyrus and the action he would be asked to take. A pagan king would be asked to do God’s will. This would be a major shift in thinking. Cyrus was in a world of dualism. Oriental belief suggested two coexistent principles struggling with each other: light as good and darkness as evil.

In chapter 45, I AM asserts sovereignty over both. Here we see the idea of omnipotence and powerfulness. This of course raises its own questions: ‘Is God the author of evil, why do things happen as they do?’, and so on.

In our silence, we affirm I AM’s absolute sovereignty over the universe; over our lives, over nature and over governments. We can say with the psalmist (24.1): ‘The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it’.  We read in Romans (13.1) in the context of civil society that there is ‘no authority except from I AM’.

In Isaiah’s time, I AM uses a pagan king, a surprising strategy. In our day, I AM uses world leaders to accomplish peace, reconciliation and wellness. When the people of Israel were freed from Babylon, they had work to do.

In the light of the life and crucifixion of Jesus, are we open enough to how I AM wants to work in our lives, our community, our world? I AM is active in our world, ever present as in this month’s Saying: ‘I form the light and create darkness’.