It will not return to me empty
Isaiah 55:10-11 God’s Word accomplishes His intended purpose, as it has power and never fails.
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“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.”
Isaiah 55:10-11 NASB1995
The prophet Isaiah is on my mind during the Christmas season, as there are usually performances of Handel’s oratorio “Messiah”. The first and second parts of the musical masterpiece use 21 verses from Isaiah that prophesy the birth of a Messiah and the Incarnation (part 1), as well as the Passion and Resurrection of Christ (part 2).
It is fitting that Isaiah used the image of the hydrological (water) cycle as a way of describing how God’s Word fulfills His purpose on earth. Isaiah begins by showing how rain and snow come down from heaven, water the earth, and cause crops to flourish, providing bread as well as seed for a future generation of plants. It then evaporates into the atmosphere and begins the cycle once again.
God’s Word works in a similar way. He sends it down from heaven and it just doesn’t evaporate into nothingness — it always fulfills His purpose. God’s Word accomplishes His intended purpose, as it has power and never fails. Charles H. Spurgeon said of God’s Word:
“It is an irrevocable word. Man has to eat his words, sometimes, and unsay his say. He would perform his engagement, but he cannot. It is not that he is unfaithful, but that he is unable. Now this is never so with God. His word never returns to him void. Go, find ye the snowflakes winging their way like white doves back to heaven! Go, find the drops of rain rising upward like diamonds flung up from the hand of a mighty man to find a lodging-place in the cloud from which they fell! Until the snow and the rain return to heaven, and mock the ground which they promised to bless, the word of God shall never return to him void.”1
God’s Word is fruitful, with different applications — it is used as bread for nourishment and seed to the sower. Our souls are nourished by God’s Word, making our lives meaningful. For those who seek to harvest souls for God through evangelism, His Word is the seed that Jesus describes in the Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13:1-23, Mark 4:1-20, and Luke 8:4-15).
God speaks to accomplish a purpose. His Word just doesn’t “do the job”; instead, it prospers by “succeeding in the manner for which I sent it.” As for the rest of the metaphorical hydrologic cycle, those who do His work to accomplish His purpose here on earth return His Word to heaven through our prayers and praise.
Heaven On Wheels Daily Prayer:
Father in Heaven, we thank You for Your Word, which never returns to You without accomplishing all You desire. May Your Word stimulate the faith of believers worldwide, setting the gifts You have given us into action to do Your will. Kindle in us the passion to share the gospel with the lost and bring many to faith in Christ. AMEN.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995, 2020 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. lockman.org.
Spurgeon, Charles Haddon "The New Park Street Pulpit" Volumes 1-6 and "The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit" Volumes 7-63 (Pasadena, Texas: Pilgrim Publications, 1990)