Last week I wrote about asking questions of the Holy Spirit, especially “why”. I do ask “why”, even though I know I may not get an answer. My thought on that is, God already knows the “why’s” rattling around in my head so my wanting to know why isn’t a surprise to Him. I have found if I just ask Him the why of things then it’s with Him, I can trust He’ll answer me when and if He is ready to do so, and my mind is clear to ask Him other questions. A question I ask with far greater frequency that “why” is, “what does this mean?”
I have had many scriptures interpreted for me by organizations that do, I am sorry to say, have far more dedication to tradition than a desire to know what the scripture actually says. Scriptural Interpretation is more in line with who these organizations have decided God is than in line with who He has revealed Himself to be. It can be a struggle to come to a passage of scripture and look at it with fresh eyes, laying aside all I’ve been taught to believe it says, and to have the Holy Spirit teach me what it means.
One of the scriptures I’ve been meditating on for a few years now is Isaiah 45:7: “I form the light and create darkness. I make peace and create calamity; I, the Lord, do all these things.” I find this a difficult passage to understand, even after I read it within the context of the surrounding verses. God is making a point that He alone is God: there is no other. Yes, I believe that. This is the same God declared by John to be love (1 John 4:16). Yes, I believe that too. What then, does this passage mean? It doesn’t seem possible that a God who is love would create darkness and calamity but I read these words spoken by God Himself. I want to know and so I present the passage to the Holy Spirit and ask, “What does this mean?” Then I begin a word study.
Being a rather linear, methodical sort of person, I begin my study with “I form the light”. Hebrew is a fascinating language, a language of pictures, and I am not very far into my study before a picture begins to take shape. The Hebrew word for “form” in this passage is yatsar (H3335). The Strong’s Concordance gives this definition: “probably identical with 3334 through the squeezing into shape, to mould into a form; espec as a potter; fig to determine (i.e. to form a resolution):-earthen, fashion, form, frame, make, potter, purpose”.
Of course I want to press on to the creating darkness and calamity part of this passage but I cannot. My attention is seized by this picture of light being squeezed into a shape and being molded into a form. I see Jesus in this brief line of scripture and I am awed by Him. I remember how often Jesus is compared to light, especially John 1:4, “In Him was life and the life was the light of men”, and the words of Jesus Himself in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world”.
While remembering these scriptures among others, I was also reminded that Jesus’ name means “salvation.” His name is Yeshua-Jesus being an anglicized pronunciation-and this is so exciting when I read passages like Isaiah 49:6: “It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, And to restore the preserved ones of Israel: I will also give You as a light (!!!) to the Gentiles, that You should be My salvation (yeshua) to the ends of the earth”.
“I form the light”. In these four words, I see Jesus, the Word of God, the One we meet in the act of creating in Genesis One, becoming man. I remember Philippians 2:5-7: “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant and coming in the likeness of men”. Some translations, including the English Standard Version and New American Standard have “emptied Himself” rather than “made Himself of no reputation”. I find the idea of Jesus emptying Himself to be a stronger word-picture revealing all He sacrificed in order to become man.
I think about 2 Corinthians 8:9: “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.” I also think about Jesus’ prayer: “And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was” (John 17:5). I think about these scriptures and wonder if I’ve ever really thought about them and I wonder if I’ve ever understood what they mean.
I don’t know that I, finite and human that I am, can understand what it was like for The Creator to become His creation. I ponder the words “squeezed into shape” and “moulded into form” and think it must have been agony. I think about Jesus being “The Lamb slain before the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8) and wonder at the intention of God. There’s a hymn that goes, “O how He loves you and me…He gave His life, what more could He give?” The thought expressed here is the truth: Jesus did give His life on the cross. And yet, He gave so much more than that. He gave His Life, a God-life beyond description, when He became human. He gave His life before He ever got to the cross.
The Creator becoming His creation is an expression of a kind of love which I have not yet begun to understand the breadth and length and height and depth. I am absolutely certain I do not fully understand what it means to be the object of that love. Jesus became one of us. My value then is the life of God Himself. What an identity that is! And, it’s not just mine. His life is the light of humankind and He is salvation to the ends of the earth. The value of every other human being is the life of God Himself.
This then is my prayer in this upcoming week. I pray this love with which I am loved becomes so real to me that it permeates every thought I have and directs every action I take. I pray the same for each of you. May we know what it means to live and move and have our being in Jesus Christ whose life is the light.
Unless noted otherwise, scriptures are quoted from the New King James Version of the Holy Bible, Thomas Nelson, Inc. 1982
Strong, James, LLD., S.T.D., The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, Tennessee, 1990