For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, And do not return there, But water 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 goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:10-11)
I often hear particularly the latter verse of these from Isaiah, and in the context of the power and certainty of God’s Word – all entirely appropriate and wonderfully encouraging. But I’ve seldom actually heard the two together, and in leaving out the first part we lose a simple but rich truth which lives within the context of the purpose contained in God’s Word. It’s a beautiful illustration of life, of sowing and reaping and of new growth – all of which contain the power and the promise that is inherent in the Word.
As I meditated on the different motifs, I found myself returning to a remarkable characteristic of young seedlings. While essentially fragile and vulnerable, being new, soft growth, they are also remarkably powerful. Each tiny seed contains an immense power for reproduction, an innate drive which pushes roots downward through layers of soil and upward towards light and air. It’s part of the plant, an essential and inseperable drive that perpetuates the cycle of growth. It is the empowerment of the inherent purpose contained within the seed.
The other truth which caught my attention is contained in this line: And make it bring forth and bud, That it may give seed to the sower And bread to the eater. The ultimate purpose contained in the Word, in the power within it, is that of provision for growth and nourishment. How sad it is that we so often overlook or neglect this wonderful gift of grace – behind every single purpose of God is His intention that we should take root, germinate, grow and multiply. Inherent in in every single purpose of God is the simple truth that His Word is intended to bring about a harvest of one kind or another.
The other consideration is, of course, that a harvest implies that no word from God exists in isolation. Everything we hear, and every purpose He has for us, includes the fundamental truth of the harvest principle. A harvest is intended to make provision, to feed and nourish. The greater the harvest, the greater the need to share it – to use what the Word accomplishes in our lives to feed others.
It’s so easy to take hold of the second verse and completely overlook the implications of the first, yet this is not what God intends. He says very emphatically ‘so is My Word.’ So means everything contained in the first verse. It’s very clear. If we desire the benefits implied in the faithfulness and power of the Word in our lives, we have to first accept the implications of this. The real truth is that, because it is faithful and unchangeable, His Word will always fulfill His purposes, not ours. Where His Word works there will be harvest. His Word is the seed of harvest.
Which brings us, of course, to the concept of fertile ground. The heart that that is ready and willing to allow the power of the Word to work within, to use us to bring forth a harvest for the benefit of others, is the heart in which the power of the Word will work in all its fullness. This is the heart that looks beyond self, beyond my needs, my desires, my purposes, to the greater purposes of God. It’s His Word, not ours. His purposes, not ours. His seed and His harvest, but for the willing heart it brings the joy of life as He intended.
Thank You, Lord, for the power and the faithfulness of Your Word. Help us always to take it in its fullness, not simply those parts that fit with our desires. Help us to see past self to Your purposes, and to come willingly to the throne of grace as fruitful fields wherein You may work for Your glory.