The Word of the Lord in Isaiah 45:18 is
For this is what the Lord says –
he who created the heavens,
he is God;
he who fashioned and made the earth,
he founded it;
he did not create it to be empty,
but formed it to be inhabited –
‘I am the Lord,
and there is no other.
This verse occurs in the midst of a passage which relates how the Lord is drawing a people to Himself. In Isaiah 45:14-17 we see how the people of the nations are coming to Israel as they realise that they are the people who have salvation. And in v 20 we see how the nations are coming to the Lord to find salvation.
Isaiah 45:18 articulates for us something of how the drawing of people to the Lord for salvation is fully commensurate with how He has worked from creation.
In creation God did wonderful work. He designed the earth through His careful architectural work. Then He made it as the perfect builder that He is. The world is established and maintained by God’s initiative and power.
But this beautiful creation was not just made to be an object of curiosity and admiration; it was made to be inhabited. God did not create it to be empty. God is in the business of designing and constructing so as to provide a realm for habitation.
In like manner God is the builder of the church and He has made it to be inhabited. How this should stir us in our evangelism. By knowing that God is a God who is set upon having a people for Himself in the church we should be aware that God desires to save. Accordingly, we read in 2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
We should not be surprised at this when we call to mind how God is revealed in the Old Testament. The term “LORD” (Jehovah / Yahweh), referring to the great covenant making and keeping God is a meaningless term if people are absent. He is the LORD because He is One committed to establishing and keeping His people.
So we conclude that throughout Scripture God is revealed as the only LORD determined to have a people for Himself in His place; the place He designed and built.
Let us then be spurred on to evangelize and pray that the Lord would build His church.