I bet many of you have heard the verse in Isaiah 55 that promises God’s Word will not return void. Remember it? Just in case, here it is: “So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose.” (Isaiah 55:11)
No doubt we love that promise! But in reading that section of Isaiah just last week, I asked myself this question—What is the purpose God is speaking of here? After all, we can’t just make one up, can we? We can’t just assign a random purpose of our own choosing as God’s goal for his word, right? No, we can’t. It’s not our word, it’s his. And so it must accomplish what God decrees and decides. That’s what it will do when it goes forth. That’s why it won’t return empty or void. Because it is God’s word, so it will do what God purposes.
So what is it that God purposes?
As I kept reading and re-reading the context, the Holy Spirit refreshed me so deeply with this promise in Isaiah 55. God’s purpose for his word are at least 2 things—nourishment and change.
Here’s verse 10 — “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater…” NOURISHMENT
And here’s verse 13 — “Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress; instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle…” CHANGE
To be frank with you, this is kind of crazy in one way. Let me explain.
It’s easy to see how, when the earth is nourished with water, things grow. That’s verse 10. But what is so amazingly crazy is that when God’s word goes forth and nourishes (like water), it just doesn’t give us a bigger thorn bush (which is actually what you’d expect in the physical realm, right? Water the thorn bush, and you’ll get a bigger thorn bush). Not so in the spiritual realm! When the water of God’s word goes forth and nourishes, it also changes. That’s verse 13. Did you see it? The thorny bush becomes a cypress tree, the briar becomes a myrtle. Wow! God’s word actually produces internal and external change!
Now back to our question: What WILL God’s word accomplish when it goes forth? What is its God-intended purpose that will not turn into a voided check of sorts? In a phrase, nourishment and change. And in a word, transformation! That’ what it will do. Without fail. That’s no empty promise either.
There’s a lot we could say here, but suffice it in this post to simply say that I hope you’ll be encouraged today by this promise: God, through his word, will nourish people, and as he does, he will change people. Even more simply, God will transform people by his Word. That’s why a Bible-centered, Scripture-immersed ministry is of vast importance. You and I can’t feed everyone with our own ideas, nor can we change anyone through our own efforts. It must be God’s word that waters their soul and eventually changes their life. That’s the only method of genuine life transformation.
So keep the main thing the main thing this week, ok? Give ‘em God’s Word as much as you can, in every way you can, knowing that when it goes forth, it is backed by the full power and promise of God Almighty himself, the One who ensures it will nourish and change—transform—all of us who hear it.