About Jesus - Steve (Stephen) Sweetman

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No Empty Words    


Read Isaiah 55:10 and 11.


"As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it."


God, through Isaiah, said that His word that He speaks will not return to Him empty-handed (NIV) or void (KJV).  It will accomplish its intended purpose.


I think we often misunderstand, and thus, misapply this passage by thinking that the printed Biblical text, in any form, has an inherent magical-like quality.  We speak or write Bible verses thinking they alone will produce their intended result.  We've put them on the walls of parliament, congress, court rooms, and billboards.  We've left tracts in public bathrooms and given them to waitresses with a tip.  Is this what Isaiah 55:10 and 11 is all about?


The text states that rain falls from the sky, enabling crops to grow.  Similarly, words spoken directly from God's mouth enable His plans associated with His word to be realized.  If, in fact, there is any New Testament significance to this, we find an example in Acts 2:36.


"Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah."


Inspired by God's Spirit, Peter spoke God's word to his audience, but, it was God who spoke to the hearts of the people.  The intended purpose of God's word was, thus, accomplished.  The word did not return to God as empty words, as Acts 2:37 says.


"When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, 'Brothers, what shall we do?'"


God's message spoken by Peter, but delivered to human hearts by God, cut into the consciences of those hearing the message.  Peter spoke to human ears.  God spoke to human hearts, something Peter could never do.  We see a Biblical principle at work here.  Read Mark 16:20. 


"Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it."


Simply put, we do the manual stuff while God does the spiritual stuff.  We speak to ears.  God speaks to hearts.  If He doesn't speak, our words are empty.  This requires a collaborative relationship between us and Jesus whereby we and Jesus speak with a unified voice that enables God's word to not be empty words.  


All of the above being said, our study of Isaiah 55:10 and 11 must include contextually based hermeneutics.  This means we determine the main point to Isaiah 55, which is, the restoration of Israel.  The specific word, then, spoken by God that will not return to Him empty-handed or void is His promise spoken to Abraham to make Israel the greatest nation ever. 


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