Today’s Readings: Isaiah 55:10-11. Psalm 34:4-6, 21-22. Matt. 6:7-15.
“9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. 10 For just as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there but, to the contrary, saturate the earth, and make it germinate and sprout, and give seed to the sower and and bread to the eater, 11 so is my word which goes out of my mouth: it does not come back to me empty, but, to the contrary is bound to do what I please and to flourish where I have sent it”(from Alec Motyer’s ‘New Devotional Translation’).
Our two verse reading from Isaiah 55 provides great encouragement and reassurance about the power of God’s word. This is about more than the Bible. It encompasses the will and the commands of God plus the work of the Holy Spirit and of His Son Jesus Christ. As we read each Christmas in the wonderful first chapter of John’s gospel “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). Peter Kreeft has summarised all this quite helpfully as follows: ‘Christ is the Word of God in person. The Bible is the Word of God in writing. Both are the Word of God in the words of men. Both have a human nature and a divine nature.’
Isaiah 55:11 makes it clear that, like the rain and the snow in verse 10, when God speaks, His living Word “will never be fruitless, never come back empty-handed…His Word is full of His creative power to achieve what the Word expresses. God’s Word is His personal messenger. It goes where He ‘sends’ it and achieves what He commands it” (Dr Alec Motyer). The prophet, Jeremiah wrote “The Lord said to me, ‘You have seen correctly for I am watching to see that my word is fulfilled’ ” (Jeremiah 1:12). So God not only proclaims powerful commands, but He is also watching to ensure that they are fulfilled! This is just like Genesis 1:3 where we read “And God said, ‘Let there be light’ and there was light.” This is the first of nine occasions in that chapter where God speaks out, as the Creator, to bring aspects of our world into being – including us! We can struggle to share God’s truths but Isaiah 55:10-11 shows that:
1. God’s word has both a present and an eternal purpose that reflects His holiness.
2. God’s word fulfils His intended purposes. It always does His work completely.
3.God’s word is fruitful. It supports the essentials of life and it brings beauty and joy.
And finally, here are three wise and encouraging comments on today’s theme:
1. ‘So our building and promotion of the church is not the result of our works but of
the Word of God which we preach… Here you see that everything is produced by
the Word’ (from Martin Luther’s ‘Lectures on Isaiah’).
2. ‘The soul can do without everything except the Word of God, without which none at
all of its wants are provided for’ (from Martin Luther’s ‘On Christian Liberty’).
3. ‘God and His Word are the reality we need.the Rock under our feet’ (from John
Piper’s ‘Coronavirus and Christ’).
Today’s Prayer: Thank you Father for the power of your word. We praise you that it enables you to accomplish the good things that you desire and that your purpose is always pure and loving. Lord Jesus, Word made flesh, thank you for bringing your Father’s truths to us and for fulfilling your mission to save us from our sins. Holy Spirit please reveal to us each day new and wonderful truths from the Bible. Amen.