<< Previous | Next >>
By the grace of G-d
Copyright © 2014, 2016 Nathaniel Segal
G-d did not create [the earth to be] a waste land.
He formed it to be settled . . .
The full verse in Isaiah reads:
For so says the
L-rdWho creates the heavens.
He is the G-d Who forms the Earth and makes it. He prepares it.
He did not create it to be a waste land.
He formed it to be settled.
“I am the
L-rd,and there is nothing else.”
The negation comes first: the Almighty, at the very least, does not want the human world to be a waste land. With this bit of knowledge and awareness, we come to realize that He desires us humans to live civilized lives. "He did not create it to be a waste land because He formed it to be settled."
How is it possible for us to live civilized lives? Because He prepares the world for us with everything that we need.
In this one verse, the prophet reminds us of the One
Notice that the first four verbs are in the present tense –
creates, forms, makes, and prepares.
Then we read two verbs in the past tense – did not create (it) and formed. These correspond to a decisive stage of will. In human terms, this corresponds to making a resolution. We want to . . . (fill in the blanks). We have been wanting to do this for a while. Finally one day, perhaps even at one moment, we decide to commit ourselves.
For example, I've been intending to post this web page to my web site ever since I was satisfied with its content. The fact that you're reading it on the Internet means that I finally decided to actually upload this page. If I may say so, "I have been creating (I create) and have been forming (I form) and have been making (I make) this web page. I have been tweaking it (I tweak) and have been preparing it (I prepare) for posting." Finally, I posted it for you to read. I did that once.
On the other hand, if I "unwill" the posting, I do almost nothing – I simply delete it. I did "almost nothing" as a matter of comparison. Compared to my effort in writing, adding, and revising this page, deleting it is virtually nothing.
On the other hand,
"I am the
This second verse in the Book of Psalms is King David's
announcement. The verse in Exodus is
I wrote that
Some people today go hungry while others sustain themselves and
then consume luxuries. This hardly seems to support the
There are two sides to this problem of hunger in the world.
On one side, nations possessing
Alongside this, the business model of agribusiness is to sell its products in a way that makes customers dependent on ongoing outflows of capital. The rich get richer, but the poor do not. (This even seems to be a U.S. domestic policy.)
On the other hand, many starving countries behave
irresponsibly. At times, the best and the brightest of their
population leave for developed countries, for example. I am
not advocating dictatorships and closed borders. I am merely
noting a lack of social responsibility and cohesion. Ask
yourself. How many people, both in the undeveloped world and
the developed world, have heard Isaiah's message and taken it to
And furthermore, how do so many nations get powerful elites who are the meanest and most selfish people of the region? I refuse to believe that some people deserve to be exploited by their own members.
Beyond all this, the hungriest people in the world are often
engaged in wars. Those who could be raising food bear arms
instead. One can argue that people on one side of a battle
are fighting self defensively. It is the other side who are,
generally, aggressors who start and sustain war based on false
beliefs. Sometimes they subscribe to an idea that their
religion is superior or that they themselves are superior to their
enemy. The aggressors claim to believe in the One and Only
I am not blaming victims in any way. I am making observations. In fact, to a certain extent some people in developed countries also believe in two gods – ours and theirs. In this case, as often as not, people in developed countries are now only giving lip service to this belief system, except concerning some ethnic or religious minorities. Within the nation's belief system there is room for blaming a new minority group for the problems in society that arise elsewhere. These minority ethnic groups are made into scapegoats.