We are looking today at the subject of forgiveness. To forgive a person who has hurt you deeply may be the greatest challenge you ever face and the greatest gift you ever give. Imagine standing right next to a hurdle on a racetrack. You are right up against it. You...
I’ve been reading through the book of Isaiah, and there have been many moments where I’ve stopped and thought, Wow. You just cannot read the book of Isaiah without feeling awe for God’s power, shame for humanity’s foolishness and sin, and praise for the Messiah who, from our future perspective, fulfilled the promises Isaiah made about Him.
One of the many elements in this book that leads me to a place of worship is what it says about the Bible itself. Isaiah says many things about this, and in this article, I would like to highlight two such statements: 1.) The Word of our God will stand forever, and 2.) God’s Word never returns to Him empty.
I hope my reflections on these truths will bolster your faith in God’s Word as the sole source of stability for your life.
1.) The Word of Our God Will Stand Forever
A voice says, “Cry!”
And I said, “What shall I cry?”
All flesh is grass,
and all its beauty is like the flower of the field.
The grass withers, the flower fades
when the breath of the Lord blows on it;
surely the people are grass.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
but the word of our God will stand forever. (Isaiah 40:6–8)
In college, I took a few classes from a literature professor who was brilliant, entertaining, and eccentric. In a word, he was unpredictable. This made the class times lively and engaging, but it also made following his directions a little difficult.
For example, he would come into class and say there would be a short paper due soon or a test coming up in the near future. We’d all dutifully prepare, only to realize a week later he had forgotten the assignment himself.
As you can imagine, our wasted efforts quickly taught us to distrust his announcements.
God’s Word is nothing like this. First of all, God never forgets what He promises to do. Isaiah, being a book full of prophecies, is a great testament to that truth. Second, God’s Word is not only spoken but also written down, precisely so we can return to it often.
There is great blessing here. Since it is true that God’s Word will stand forever, that means if we believe in it, we know we are putting our trust in something eternally secure. We can strive toward good works in Christ because we know following His Word never leads to wasted effort.
There is also great responsibility here. God’s Word is forever authoritative. His commands will not fade away in our lifetime like the assignments given by my professor. So how can we grow in submissiveness to God’s Word?
2.) God’s Word Never Returns to Him Empty
“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,
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.” (Isaiah 55:10–11)
Imagine if there were a baseball player who stayed in the major leagues late into his 80s. We’d be impressed by his longevity, saying, “Wow! That’s incredible. He seems like he can do this forever.”
Let’s say, though, that his batting average for the past 50 years was .000. He had been playing all that while, but he had not hit the baseball a single time the last 30 thousand at-bats.
That would not be impressive at all. It wouldn’t matter that he had somehow stayed on the lineup card for decades, he would not be deserving of any fan appreciation without any real accomplishment. True endurance entails lasting accomplishment.
Here in Isaiah 55, it says God’s Word never returns to Him empty. It uses the words accomplish and succeed. So, the Bible is not only eternally authoritative but it is eternally powerful and effective.
You might ask, To what end is it eternally powerful and effective? The verse shows us that it always accomplishes God’s purpose. And then you might ask, Well, what is God’s purpose? What does the Bible do when I read it?
The image of rainwater in the first half of this passage sheds light on God’s purpose. Water causes life, and water sustains life. And the same is true of God’s Word; the Bible brings life and sustains life.
The Bible fosters and sustains the life God promises you.
The Accomplishment of the Word
As a writer, I am always trying to write something that stands for a long time and that has continued impact on readers. No one writes with the hope that their words are forgotten. No one writes with the hope that no reader is changed.
Consider then the perfection of God’s Word, whose message will stand forever with the power to bring life to all who hear it.
Cling onto His word, believer, and never let go!