Advent: Into His Marvelous Light
45:1 Thus says the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus,
whose right hand I have grasped,
to subdue nations before him
and to loose the belts of kings,
to open doors before him
that gates may not be closed:
2 “I will go before you
and level the exalted places,
I will break in pieces the doors of bronze
and cut through the bars of iron,
3 I will give you the treasures of darkness
and the hoards in secret places,
that you may know that it is I, the LORD,
the God of Israel, who call you by your name.
4 For the sake of my servant Jacob,
and Israel my chosen,
I call you by your name,
I name you, though you do not know me.
5 I am the LORD, and there is no other,
besides me there is no God;
I equip you, though you do not know me,
6 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.
7 I form light and create darkness;
I make well-being and create calamity;
I am the LORD, who does all these things.
8 “Shower, O heavens, from above,
and let the clouds rain down righteousness;
let the earth open, that salvation and righteousness may bear fruit;
let the earth cause them both to sprout;
I the LORD have created it.
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright (c)2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. http://www.esv.org
In Isaiah 45:7, God says, “I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the LORD, who does all these things.” In this passage and in many other passages of the Bible, God reveals that He is sovereign over both the brightness of what is good and pleasing, and over the darkness of what is evil and difficult. This does not mean that God is somehow morally responsible for evil, or that He delights in it. Rather, it means that nothing in all creation happens apart from His holy will. While experiences of darkness and calamity may feel chaotic and destructive, God’s sovereignty means they are actually purposeful and redemptive.
Some Christians feel that the reality of God’s sovereignty should somehow reduce or eliminate our grief when we experience seasons of darkness or calamity. But that is not a biblical notion, and is actually contrary to how God calls us to respond personally and emotionally. The video above, which Rev. Davis mentioned in the sermon, clarifies this in a very helpful way in the context of the loss of a loved one.
God’s Word gives perspective on darkness in all kinds of ways, including the relationship between darkness and the Incarnation. The Gospel of John begins with a beautiful and powerful announcement about who Jesus is, and what His birth accomplished. Using the metaphor of light and darkness, John says, “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it (John 1:4-5).” While God has allowed darkness into this world and into our lives, He has also allowed His Son to come and defeat this darkness. And in God’s profound wisdom and beauty, the Son’s defeat of darkness came by experiencing the curse of darkness on the cross. As a result, we can rejoice in the beautiful promise we heard sung on Sunday, “There is no night that can steal the promises His coming brings to us.”