God's Word Never Returns Void (Isaiah 55:10,11)

that portion of Scripture that we use for this worship service is Isaiah 55 Isaiah chapter 55 the text that God gives to us this evening is found in verses 10 and 11 Isaiah 55 ho everyone that thirsteth come e to the waters and he that hath no money come ye bye Andy yay come buy wine and milk without money and without price wherefore do you spend money for that which is not bread and your labor for that which satisfy if not hearken diligently unto me in a that which is good and let your soul delight itself in fatness incline your ear and come unto me here and your soul shall live and I will make an everlasting covenant with you even the sure mercies of David behold I have given him for a witness to the people a leader and commander to the people behold thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not and nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee because of the LORD thy God and for the Holy One of Israel for he hath glorified thee Sikhi the Lord while he may be found call ye upon him while he is near let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts and let him return unto the Lord and He will have mercy upon him and to our God for he will abundantly pardon for my thoughts are not your thoughts neither are your ways my ways suck the Lord for as the heavens are higher than the earth so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts for as the rain cometh down and the snow from heaven and returneth not thither but water if the earth and make it that bring forth and bud that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater so shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth it shall not return unto me void but it shall accomplish that which I please and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it for ye shall go out with joy and be led forth with peace the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands instead of the thorns shall come up the fir tree and instead of the Brier shall come up the myrtle tree and did shall be to the Lord for a name for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off may God bless our reading of his word to our understanding and greater appreciation the text that God gifts to us tonight now the tenth and eleventh verses of Isaiah 55 verses 10 and 11 there we read for as the rain cometh down and the snow from heaven and returneth not thither but watereth the earth and make it bring forth and bud that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater so shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth it shall not return unto me void but it shall accomplish that which I please and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it the historical context is important to understand it is the setting of the children of Judah in Babylon captive thinking in spite of what they have heard God say to them that he would be with them and blessed them thinking that

God could never fulfill all the promises that he gave thinking that it was utterly impossible just as they looked at the promises that are recorded here there’s others in the chapters especially since chapter 40 but just think of what he’s already said here in verse chapter 55 look by wine and milk the most expensive things usually it’s just water by wine and milk without money and without price how can you ever do that they look at their experience as captives in Babylon and they look at the what the Prophet said in the last part of verse 3 the sure mercies of David he will remember his covenant and it’s an everlasting covenant we don’t have a king we don’t have a kingdom how can this ever be they looked at themselves the serious ones now and they looked at what their sins and the sins of the nation had brought upon them and again their homes are a pile of rubble there’s no hope or evidence that they’re ever going to go back and restore them the place of worship is destroyed the key symbol of the altar of burnt-offering where they were shown that there was forgiveness of sins the only picture that they had of the forgiveness of sins was one of the pile of rubbles they’d not brought sacrifices for how many years and even prior to their being in captivity many times the temple was closed and the Prophet says God’s going to abundantly pardon you how can that be abundantly pardon us he takes those promises and their mindset is you can talk all you want profit impossible so ever since verse 8 the profit has been trying to show to them don’t put your thoughts and what you think as limits and restrictions on God’s promises God says to them I know what your thoughts are and I know what your ways are but my thoughts are not like your thoughts and neither are your ways like my ways in fact as the heavens are higher than the earth so are my ways and my thoughts far higher than yours you’re got real thoughts and you’ve got real ways but they’re not where mine are and now in our tax to Ed’s and when I make a promise when I speak a word it’s sure an amen and then he uses the example the illustration that was very well understood we see it now to today snow and rain he uses that illustration to demonstrate the power of a word God’s Word God’s Word to them as a nation God’s Word to us as a congregation God’s Word to every believing soul to each one so powerful that he says it never returns to me without having accomplished the purpose for which I’ve sent it so we consider God’s Word never returning void first we look at the yellow of the illustration that’s easily and quickly done and understood second

the reality the power of the word and then finally the comfort and the lessons to be learned the figure three things three very simple things the rain and snow fall they fall that’s first obviously they fall from the sky and they land on the earth and they enter into not only the earth but the atmosphere of the earth and then it says in verse 10 that they returned not thither the we must not assume or presume that the prophet and the holy spirit don’t understand evaporation he does they do but he’s taking an illustration and he says the rain and the snow fall and they enter into the atmosphere of this earth and into the earth and soil and even into the subsoil they become a part they don’t go back to God and into heaven they come down and they land here number two very quickly following that they have an effect there a fact is that they water the earth they bring moisture moisture to the soil the farmers are very interested in how much moisture falls they want it measured but they want to know how much of it enters into unfrozen ground they don’t want to see it runoff into the ditches and then run into the creeks and the lakes they want to know what’s the subsoil moisture they want to go be able to go down a foot and then two feet and then three feet and they want to be able to measure this the moisture and the soil down there because when the Sun comes out in the spring and the top layer of the soil becomes dry and dusty they want to know that what’s the soil the moisture content down below so that the plants that are growing there will send their roots down what is it way down the corn sends its roots sometimes five feet down what’s the moisture content down there they water the earth that’s what the rain in the snow do they water the earth then the third thing that happens is this it maketh to bring forth and bud and then with it it gives bread to the eater and seed to the sword it maketh to bring forth and bud the tense of the verb indicates ongoing action it never stops it’s an ongoing action of watering bearing eating it is interesting that when it brings forth and bugs and produces fruit the the the fruit have two purposes very interesting bread to the eater that’s what we’re most familiar with but something that all of us who aren’t farmers aren’t going to be thinking about it used to be that when you were a farmer and you raised crops you had to make a decision when harvest time came what portion of the harvest was going to be set aside and reserved for sowing next year and then the rest you could use to eat but you never wanted to consume it all because then you would have nothing with which to sow next year seed for the sower and bread for the eater bring forth and bud God designs all of his creation along those lines instruments of his power to provide provision for his creatures that’s the illustration the reality verse 11 so shall my word be

a word normally my mother thought that her words didn’t even get into the heads of her children words seemed to go no further than their sound but God’s word has a power has a power tremendous power the word that God is referring to is the things that we’ve already Illustrated his promise that they will be able to buy wine and milk without money and without price his promise of an everlasting covenant his promise of the sure mercies of David his promise of abundant pardon that’s the word of promise that God gave it’s a word that spoke of the things that God had done and would do a word that was spoken by prophets he communicated that word to his people through the prophets we know further he communicates that word through His Son Jesus Christ he communicated those same promises through the apostles and he continues to communicate ongoing today that same promise that same powerful Word of God is that which is communicated through the preaching of the word one is saved actually saved saved from sin save from hell by hearing Christ through the preaching for the Saints of the old dispensation it was a promise of the coming of Jesus Christ the Messiah it was a promise that meant a lot to them they were looking forward to that for that salvation for the reality of forgiveness for 4000 years in the whole of the old dispensation there was that’s altar of burnt-offering well ever since the days of Moses but before that in the garden God gave that promise that a seed of the woman would crush the head of the serpent there were promises all the time but what about the reality it is no wonder that now at about 700 years BC so 3,300 years 3,300 years have taken place already and in still God says I’ve maintained this promise it’s really not any wonder that they would begin to wonder really really you see it over and over but really notice there’s a difference between the illustration and God’s Word in the illustration we read that the snow and rain come down from the heavens and return not thither they don’t return but here the Word of God returns in fact it does not return void empty it returns with something by accomplishing that which he purposes so the word is different than the illustration the word is a power it has a tremendous power it may not be all that we think because God attaches this understanding to the accomplishments of his word it will accomplish what I please it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it what that tells us is

this when god’s word goes forth it does return to him it does bring forth fruit it does accomplish that which he purposes it may not always be as we expect it may not always be as we want it’s a word that brings the knowledge of the forgiveness of sins and the blood of his son but it may bring that home not to all of our children but only to some Abraham saw that already in his grandson didn’t accomplish what Abraham wanted it to but it accomplished what God wanted it to and it returned to him it brought returns it shall accomplish that which to which I have sent it it will not return to me empty unsuccessful on accomplishing it does precisely what I sent it to do that’s what God is saying now maybe that’s a bit easier for us to understand and this is this shows to us the importance of the faith that God gives to us in every page and in every statement that God makes in all of his holy scriptures so that we go to the very first page of the Bible and we immediately even as little children come to understand understand clearly the power of God’s Word he speaks and it is done hey children how did God create light remember how did God create light he said he said he spoke he said a word let there be light and there was light so that Psalm 33 6 and 9 make it very clear that the way in which God created was after he had created on that first day that that mass that water a mass that was without form and was void he spoke he called out of it he first called out of nothing and it was but then after that he called out of that watery mass everything that he had created let there be the firmament to divide the water is above from the waters below let the waters below be formed into a globe into a sphere and let the dry land appear let the water and the land separate from one from another and let the dry land produce fruit bearing plants and grass fully grown he spoke and it was done he commanded and it stood fast we come to understand then that God’s word has power tremendous power very interesting that’s the way it was in creation and that’s the way God says it is to take place in recreation he speaks and there’s tremendous positive fruit bread to the eater seed to the sword the second thing that makes the power of

god’s word if ur n’t than the illustration is this he points it out in verse 13 sometimes there’s dandelions in the yard and everything is dry so we artificially put water on there or God sends a good soaking ring and the dental ions get bigger there’s a thorn bush you water it and what do you end up with a bigger thorn bush but the nature of God’s Word is very different it takes a thorn and it transforms it the power of God’s Word is that it is capable of taking something that is not good and making it good a thorn into a fir tree a briar into a myrtle tree something negative becomes something positive the power of God’s Word as it’s carried by the Holy Spirit is that it is capable of taking a sinner conceived and born into the sphere of sin having communicated to it the sin of Adam the guilt of Adam it’s a thorn it’s a briar that’s what we produce but the power of the word is that when that word enters into the understanding and then by the power of that spirit into the heart of that child there’s a transformation into that which is something good and profitable and beneficial a miracle takes place that doesn’t take place in the realm of creation that word well generally it takes a black heart a heart of stone and it makes it a heart of flesh it takes something that is closed to the truth and it makes it open to the truth when we exercise ourselves when God’s Word is brought to us yes it can be preaching but it can be sitting in your chair or at your desk or additi at your table and God forbid it be one of those times did you say let’s quick read the Bible a minute and pray and then we can all get up and go but it be those times where you read and the spirit communicates and the unrepentant is convicted remember how we just sang from Psalm 19 it has the power to impart to us

believers things about ourselves that we don’t know about ourselves every single one of us especially when we’ve hit some age of maturity have an understanding about ourselves we think we know ourselves but spiritual maturation says there’s parts of me that maybe others know a whole lot better than I do I don’t know myself so then you know how the psalm goes this is how we sang it what man can know his wicked heart his evil heart what man can discern all his sin all cleanse me Lord from hidden hidden faults show me show me the parts that I don’t want to think about show me the parts that my sinful nature has deceived me concerning it maybe things that that my husband or my wife for my children have been telling me but I’ve I’ve denied it I don’t see it make me to know and the word the word has that convicting power to enlighten us about ourselves now it does that in the way of humbling ourselves it humbles us it makes us know the first step for being opened having your eyes open to hidden faults is the realization that I don’t know myself as I and you’re humbled humbled before the majesty and the brilliant lights of God’s Word and you ask him to shine shine within and show you so that you can realize and confess the word is a power to convict our conscience it has the ability to make an idol worshipper god-fearing and that’s not just the heathen that were converted it has the power to make us aware of the idols of our lives it has the power to take one who is by nature fearful and make them courageous it has the power to take the obnoxious nature’s out of our souls and change us into something blessed that blesses it can take those who are always sappers takers and make them givers it can take a nature that’s demanding and make it patient and a servant it has the power to take those that are often given to different anger oh we never show it when we’re out but how about inside the house and teach us to be peacemakers it is the power to make complainers very very thankful who count their blessings and they close their mouths to complaints it takes the weeds that are always popping up and makes them good plants obstinate sea becomes

firmness for the truth somebody who is always trifling and light you can make them a delight and beautiful and useful God’s Word is still working it’s not just initial conversion it’s ongoing conversion and it’s the power of that word to transform each one of us constantly just as powerful as God’s Word was on creation week it’s a miracle that takes place in that catechism room and the preaching and in the quiet meditation of his word and so when he says I will abundantly pardon and our nature is but look at how horribly filthy and dirty and continually dirty I am I’m not just once dirty I keep producing dirt I’m still inclined to all evil I’m incapable of doing any good in myself and that word says but you’re forgiven abundantly and the soul that hears God say it it’s not what they wish it’s not what others say but it’s God saying it you know when God says it then that soul says his ways are higher than my ways and his thoughts then it has to be true it has to be God’s Word is powerful now the text specifically only speaks of the positive power of the word we often use the expression it doesn’t return to Him void and it accomplishes the purpose for which he sends it we often are inclined far more often than not to use this passage to refer to what we would call the negative effect of the word it goes forth and it hardens goes forth and there’s not those who heat it and there’s not conversions then we say well God’s Word never returns void did accomplish what he wanted it to do they’re harder and there is no doubt that that is implied that is implied but that’s not what’s on the surface and that’s what’s not in the heart of this passage of the word of God it’s talking about the power of God’s Word in our lives so now third point what’s the implications of this number one we have no reason ever to be disheartened or discouraged when the word does not produce the fruit that we want again that might not have the emphasis in the passage but it’s implied so that when we do mission work in Maine in Alamosa Valley San Luis Valley and Ella mosa in Tucson Birmingham Alabama in Ghana then we must not be discouraged or disheartened in the work what we really have to do is just stop our

mouths and our thinking and and take what he just said my ways are higher than your ways and your thoughts are not my thoughts and we don’t know the judgment day alone will tell us what the power of that word accomplished may be not in numbers and maybe not souls that are gathered in instituted congregations but let’s know that it never returns to him empty it accomplishes the purpose for which he sends it and that may be that some are hardened but it’s also great likelihood that other churches and other souls are strengthened and encouraged by the fruit of the word it goes forth we ought never be disheartened or discouraged number two when there is the kind of fruit that we enjoy then may we always walk so humbly that we never attributed to a personality to a preaching style to us never the power the only power is that of God himself it’s a divine power it prospers in the things we’re – he sends it it’s a mighty creative word omnipotent and irresistible and we don’t add anything to our own salvation and we don’t add anything to the efficacy positive efficacy of his word in a catechism room and a congregation of worshippers in a mission field it’s all of God third because the word has that kind of power then thinking again of Romans 10 13 14 and 15 that it goes forth according to his sending even those who call on him shall be saved but they don’t call on him unless they believe in him and they don’t believe in him unless they hear him and they don’t hear him unless there be a preacher and no one preaches unless he sent equally each step equally important that sending that tells us this that in all of the work of a catechism room of a pulpit of a mission field of elder calls to admonish in the form of discipline or in the work of evangelism all that the church must do is send the word present clearly the power of the word set forth what God says the Scriptures especially is that important in discipline the church does not use trackers the church doesn’t spy the church presents the word that’s all and in light of what God says his word can do what more do we need we don’t need trackers and we don’t need to spy it we’ll do what he wants it to do he has the power to use that word

just teach as clearly as possible just preach just carry and communicate the word as clearly as possible and pray because if you know it’s his power and not yours then you not only present clearly but you pray to Him who alone is able then there’s no notches on belts then there’s no comparison of size and fruits it’s not of us it’s all of him for it if God’s Word is this power and it does then every sincere child of God is going to put himself in the position of hearing that word it is not you gotta be in church it’s not it many people go to church and go to hell Protestant form churches too it’s coming with a humble heart a heart that’s aware that I’ve got issues I am sinner I am depraved I’ve got hidden faults I’ve got secrets within that I don’t even know myself but it’s for his glory that I allow myself to be under the scope of his word praying praying always oh lord teach me open my eyes not only to the power of sin but to the power of salvation show me cleanse me cleanse me from my how does God cleanse he shows you where the dirt is so you change so you repent so you exercise yourself and those virtues that are the opposite it means it means that we never say this is the way I am I can’t help it but we identify ourselves and the personality types that we are but we always say Lord sanctify me make me holy work on me so that my personality type is a sanctified personality so that I learned that if I’m an active person my activities to his glory so that if I’m a quieter person I’m a quieter person for his glory I learned how to do all things for him finally this if elders and ministers and missionaries present and pray then sit under the ring and the snow of God’s Word and pray drink in his promises and as you’re drinking those promises that you read every day and that you’ve got you can recite Psalm 23 in Psalm 27 and Isaiah 40 and there are so many different verses that the wonder of those verses keep growing and the beauty of the promises and the truths in them become ever brighter and more wonderful pray that you may become more and more

under its influence and that you’ll never stop marveling at the wonder of the cross and the power of the forgiveness a fifteen-year-old may say God abundantly forgives but he doesn’t quite say it like a 25 year old or a 55 year old or a 75 God abundantly pardons and his mercies are sure amen Oh Lord our God may the power of thy word be that which we experience humbling comforting strengthening assuring giving us hope joy in Christ’s work O Lord our God on us this week so that the wonder of the supper of the Lord may be that which we experience ongoing throughout the week when we hear memorial services and thy word bride when we listen to each other when we do our devotions when we open the scriptures may not be mechanical but may it be that which brings forth and buds thanks thanks for thy grace to keep forgiving us sinners in Jesus name we pray amen