A month ago I happened to read Isaiah 45 and was really struck by it. I was going to post about, then the hiatus came, then I forgot about it…
But then Ryan preached a great sermon on God’s sovereignty, and then wrote that examination on God and “fairness”, so I figured I should get in on the party.
There’s a lot in this passage I wanted to touch on, but instead of listing the entire chapter, I think I will humbly request that you read the whole chapter first. Don’t forget to come back when you’re done!
So, do you feel puny and in awe of our great Creator?! If not, let’s look at a few parts of what the prophet was writing here.
God will use the tools He wants based on His purposes, not necessarily that person’s merits.
The beginning of the chapter relates how God called out Cyrus the Great to be his instrument to subdue nations for the benefit of Israel. It is interesting to see God remark that He is calling Cyrus in spite of the fact that Cyrus does not acknowledge God. It is important to also see God’s purpose in this is so that “men may know there is none besides Me.” (v 6)
God alone creates and distributes righteousness.
Verse 8 was the reason I read this chapter and just thinking about it was filling me with wonderment. Think about the seeming randomness of nature. Rain drops falling here and there, flowers and plants growing in variety and uniqueness. We Christians see these things, but don’t deny that God is controlling all of it. Yet here, God is comparing that apparent randomness to how He distributes righteousness and salvation. It may seem random, but He is in control. He not only is sovereign in it’s distribution, but also in it’s inception! (I, the LORD, have created it)
God has the indisputable right to do as He pleases.
The next five verses show that God is aware of our inability to understand all this and provides His response to human questioning of His methods. The potter and clay image is even more well known thanks to Paul using it in his own writings and is very powerful. God’s claim to sovereignty is found in the fact that none of us would be here if it weren’t for Him. He created us, thus He owns us.
God answers only to Himself.
If you feel you are being repressed by an unfair authority, you would seek the judgment and delivery from someone in higher authority, right? Well, I think this is the reason God makes so many declarations of His exclusivity in this chapter about His sovereignty. Consider:
“I am the LORD, and there is no other.”
“I, the LORD, speak the truth; I declare what is right”
“And there is no God apart from me”
“a righteous God and a Savior; there is none but Me”
“I am God, and there is no other”
If we are even going to entertain the evil attitude to question God’s practices, who are we going to complain to? Does God have a superior who can put Him in His place? Is there a law above God that we can point to to show Him the err of His ways? To entertain a question of the “unfairness” of God is to presume that God must answer to something or someone. Maybe it is the case that we have set up our own ideas of morality and truth as an idol above God…
So I ask again, do you feel puny? Are you in awe? If not, you should probably read Isaiah 45 again. Don’t despair at God’s sovereignty, rejoice in it. We are sustained every day by it, we are saved by it.