gracetidings:with dr doug mamvura
“I am the Lord, there is no other, I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity, I the Lord do all these things” (Isaiah 45:7).
This is one of the most misunderstood verses in the Bible. Many people, including some believers, sadly believe that God creates evil as a way of punishing people. The world is currently facing this global pandemic, Covid-19, and there are people who believe, including some ministers of the Gospel, that this virus came from God. They also believe that God creates darkness as quoted in the above verse.
The main reason is that some of us just pick a verse and build a doctrine from it. There are churches that have been formed from a doctrine based on one verse in the Bible.
It is very important to follow Apostle Paul’s advice to “rightly divide the Word”. Context or background is very important.
First John 1:5, states: “This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.” How then does one contrast this with Isaiah 45:7, above? Does this mean this God is schizophrenic? One moment He creates darkness, the next minute He is Light in whom there is no darkness. In 1 John 1:5, Apostle John makes it clear that “there is no darkness at all”. So how do we reconcile the two verses? There seems to be conflict between these two verses from the same Bible about the same God and yet that is not the case.
The natural mind tends to gravitate towards the verse that God “creates darkness and calamity”. It is very important that we don’t rely on our natural mind to understand scripture. One has to look at the context, background and timing such as Old versus New Covenant. It is very important to have our spiritual sight enlightened or mind renewed.
In Luke 24:45 we hear that Jesus “opened their understanding that they might comprehend the Scriptures”. This was in reference to His disciples. This is true even today. We need to have “our understanding opened” if we are to comprehend the Scriptures. We can never understand Scriptures through our carnal mind.
In order for us to fully understand the Bible, it is very important from the beginning to appreciate God’s plan over us His people. We see Him in Genesis 12: 1- 3 stating His plan to Abraham — “Get out of your country, from your family, and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation, I will bless you and make your name great. And you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you.
And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed”. From day one it was God’s desire that He would bless His people. We see this soon after creating Adam and Eve, the bible says “He blessed them”. The Father’s heart has always been to bless His people. The curse would only come to anyone who wanted to frustrate His plans.
God’s plan was going to be accomplished through a series of covenants culminating into the final and best covenant being fulfilled by His Son, Jesus Christ.
In Exodus 19:8 we see Moses coming to the elders of the Israelites, laying before them all the words which the Lord had commanded him. ‘Then all the people answered together and said “All the Lord has spoken we will do”.
As if this was not enough, these Israelites gave the same response when Moses came and told them about the judgements from the Lord which we see in (Deuteronomy 28:15-68) — “And all the people answered with one voice and said “All the words which the Lord has said we will do” (Exodus 24:3). Furthermore “he took the Book of the Covenant and read in the hearing of the people. And they said” All the Lord has said we will do and be obedient”.
According to these three incidents, we see that God gave His Word and these Israelites gave their word. It was a covenant blessings and curses. Blessings or curses were going to be determined by their obedience or disobedience to God.
When we come back to Isaiah 45:7, It was within that context that those words were spoken. These words were spoken to the children of Israel. It is very unfortunate that we see this verse being taken out of context. The same applies to Amos 3:6 “If there is a calamity in a city, will not the Lord have done it”.
This was referring to a particular people (Israelites) at a particular time. It is very important for one to put everything into context and appreciate the background to the verse.
God has never changed. He has always been a good God. However, man changed and decided to be independent from God. It is this independence that brought consequences. Sin has consequences.
In Matthew 17:1-8, we see Jesus transfigured on the mount with Peter, James and John as witnesses. Two more people appeared who were Elijah and Moses making them three including Jesus. A voice came from heaven saying “This is My beloved Son, in whom I a well pleased. Hear Him”. Notice the voice didn’t say hear them. This was a clear instruction from God that Jesus was to be preeminent among the three of them. Elijah represented the prophets while Moses represented the Law.
This was now a departure from the tradition where the focus was on Law and prophets. One can clearly see that this was the beginning of a new dispensation resulting from the coming of Jesus. This dispensation was finally brought to fruition through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. No wonder Hebrews 8:6 states that “But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, in as much as He is also a Mediator of a better covenant which was established on better promises”. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second.”
It is very sad to see that some of us are still stuck in the Old covenant when the bible states that “He says a new covenant, He has made the first obsolete”
(Hebrews 8:9). So why do you want to stick with the “obsolete” covenant? God promises in this new covenant that “I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and lawless deeds, I will remember no more” (Hebrews 8:12).
So where is the place for evil or disease in this new covenant? If God is the one who brings sickness, why then did He send Jesus to come and “take away our infirmities? Why did he instruct us to go and “heal the sick?” If He causes calamities, why did Jesus stop the storm when He was with His disciples? If God brings evil on this earth why did He send His Son “to destroy the works of the evil?” It is the thief who comes to steal, kill and destroy. He came that we may have life and have it more abundantly (John 10:10).
We are supposed to reign as kings in this world (Romans 5:17). If you are getting your lessons from sickness, evil and tragedy, then you are definitely in the wrong kingdom. There are three things you have to always consider as a believer. First, you have to know God not know about Him. Know Him intimately. Second, you have to understand the different covenants in the Bible and distinguish between the old and new covenants. Third, you have to understand God’s heart and His love for you and I. Our “spiritual eyes” need to be enlightened as prayed by Apostle Paul in the book of Ephesians so we can fully comprehend His exceeding great love for us.
God has given us His authority through His name, His Spirit, His Blood, His promises among many other blessings to live victorious on this planet. This is why whatsoever is born of God overcomes the world. It is only the devil who brings evil.
l Dr Doug Mamvura is a graduate of Charis Bible School. Feedback: email@example.com or Twitter @dougmamvura