16 March 2011

Isaiah 55:10-11

"For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there until they have watered 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." (vv. 10-11a)


The suffering and despair of the Jewish people in Exile will eventually come to an end and the people shall be restored and the Temple rebuilt. This is the hope that is now creeping onto the radar screens in Isaiah; a hope founded on the promises and faithfulness of God.

These promises and that faithfulness are expressed, communicated and indeed brought to fruition through God's word. When God speaks things happen: "then God said, 'Let there be light'; and there was light" (Genesis 1:3); "and God said, 'Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind: cattle and creeping things and wild animals' ... and it was so" (Genesis 1:24). So when God says, 'I will make with you an everlasting covenant' (Isaiah 55:3), God does. The real miracle and revelation here of course is the extraordinary assertion that God actually communicates with creation and with human beings.

God's words are not empty words - far from it - they are purposeful and effective, an active expression of God in creation. In the Christian tradition, the 'Word' was in the beginning "and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" and "all things came into being through him" (John 1:1,3). This 'active expression of God in creation' is associated with Jesus Christ, the Word who, "became flesh and lived among us ... full of grace and truth" (John 1:14).

The verses we are considering today from Isaiah 55 do not suggest that proclaiming God's word indiscriminately will automatically achieve God's purposes. Rather they encourage the view that wherever change is effected which is consistent with God's nature as revealed in Christ, there God's word (and Word) is at work. When all is said and done, God is with us!

To Ponder

Using today's reading (or an alternative if you prefer) meditate on God's word by quietly and prayerfully reading through the passage several times and listening for God's word for you today.

Can you recall a time when you have 'heard' God speaking to you? How would you describe this experience to someone else?

Bible notes author

The Revd Graham Jones

Graham Jones is a Methodist presbyter serving as a member of the Discipleship and Ministries Learning Network in the Yorkshire Plus region of the Methodist Church, with particular responsibility for ministry development. Graham is committed to developing ministry in its broadest sense, enabling both lay and ordained to live out their vocations, and to share in God's mission in the most fulfilling and effective ways.