Shall Not Return Empty
Isaiah 55:11 (ESV) -- 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, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
When God speaks, things happen. At creation, God simply spoke the words and a universe, galaxies, and life came into being. It had no choice. God’s Word carries with it the power to fulfill what He commands of it.
Our words are not like that. Our words have power, but they do not possess a power to do whatever we demand. If I scream out, “There’s a new car in my driveway!” nothing will happen as a result. If God were to say, “There’s a new car in Erik’s driveway!” the car would have to come into existence as a result. It would have no choice. Why? Because God can’t lie. And His Word accomplishes whatever He speaks.
Our passage today captures this truth for us. The LORD speaks in Isaiah 55:11, “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, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”
Notice that the word that goes forth from God’s mouth will not return empty. He can’t speak something that doesn’t happen. It shall accomplish the purpose He sent it out to do. As a preacher, this is encouraging. When the Scriptures, which is God’s Word, are declared, it performs the task God intends for it. This is true in two ways. First, in the general sense He intends, which is He is glorified, truth is declared, and people hear the revelation of God. Second, in a particular sense, meaning for the specific purposes He has intended it for the listeners receiving it. For the single mom that is burdened, God may have a purpose for that Word to encourage and strengthen her. For the husband and father struggling to lead his family, the Word may convict and bring repentance. For the lost college student, it may open her eyes to the grace of God. The particular purpose of God’s Word is always accomplishing what He intends for it to do. It never returns void.
Be encouraged today that if you read Scripture and hear God’s Word, God is at work through that. It never returns back to Him void.
The posture we should take as we read or hear Scripture is to seek God’s purpose for that in our lives and receive it with gladness.
Reflection & Journal:
- How is it possible that God’s Word never returns void?
- What are different ways God’s Word accomplishes its purposes?
- How should this verse help us approach Bible reading and listening to sermons?
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