God is a God of Order AND Chaos

Old Testament authors defend both.

Most Christians today probably have a hard time thinking of God as a God of Chaos but during Old Testament times, the problem was the opposite - people had a hard time thinking of God as a God of Order. Why would they think that?

Set Gods of Chaos

Several Ancient Near East cultures had "gods of chaos". Let's take a look at one of them. The Egyptian god called Set was a god of the desert, storms, warfare and foreigners in ancient Egyptian religion and in later myths he is also the god of darkness and chaos.

So God takes a group of foreigners (the Israelites), takes them into the desert where they wander for 40 years, conquers the land of Canaan through warfare, and makes his people kingless. Not only that but:
He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him-- the dark rain clouds of the sky.
- Psalm 18:11
Can you see why some people thought God was a god of chaos? Maybe they even thought specifically He was the Egyptian god because His people came out of Egypt.

Old Testament authors strike back by showing that God controls both chaos and order.
I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things.
- Isaiah 45:7
Cosmic Order

The Old Testament makes it a point to show that God created and maintains order at the cosmic level. Many Ancient Near East cultures tell how the world was created out of chaos. The Old Testament is no different and shows that God is the one who conquers chaos to create the world. In Yahweh, Creation, and the Cosmic Battle, Peter Enns writes:
One of the ways the Old Testament describes creation is through a conflict between Yahweh and the sea (or “waters” or one of the sea monsters, Leviathan or Rahab). Sea is a symbol of chaos, and so Yahweh’s victory in the conflict establishes order. He is the creator, the supreme power. Israel’s proper response is awe and praise.
Light and Darkness

Genesis describes God creating light:
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.
- Genesis 1:3-4
Exodus explains why God dwells in darkness when visiting earth:
But," he said, "you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live."
- Exodus 33:20
Societal Order

The Old Testament explains that the Israelites were not kingless, but that God himself was their king:
And the Lord told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king.
- 1 Samuel 8:7
God also establishes His Law among Him people to establish order. If they followed the Law, prosperity would come, if not, destruction would come:
See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.
- Deuteronomy 30:15-16
Fertility and Warfare

The reason that the Israelites wandered in the desert was because of their lack of faith (Numbers 14). God was not just God of the desert but God of fertile land too. Deuteronomy makes it clear that when the Israelites followed the Law, their crops would be blessed.
Then the Lord your God will make you most prosperous in all the work of your hands and in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your land. The Lord will again delight in you and make you prosperous, just as he delighted in your ancestors
- Deuteronomy 30:9
This "god of chaos"/'god of order" issue is closely related to the "god of war"/"god of fertility" issue, which you can read about in my analysis of Psalm 68:18.