The Nature of the Word of God (Isaiah 55)

As people living in this state of Washington, we’re used to hearing the word “nature”.  We hear how beautiful it is, how varied it can be, how we see it so much as we look around us.  But there’s more to nature than God’s creation.  In our text for today, we see God talking about nature- but what’s interesting is that God uses a picture from nature to describe true “nature”- the essential characteristic or quality of a thing- let me share a story to help this…

Once a boy was up on a mountain peak standing in the snow, holding his collar up against the wind, and he happened upon a Cobra. The boy looked at the serpent as it shivered.
“Little boy, I’m freezing. Please take me down the mountain where it is warm.”
The boy answered, “No, you are a poisonous snake and you will bite me if I try to pick you up. Even if you don’t then you will surely bite me when you are warm.”
The snake answered back, “No if you spare my life I will not bite you. You have my promise.”
The boy considered this all for a moment then carefully he picked the adder up and placed it in his satchel and began his hike down the slope. Soon he was home and he took the snake and placed him near the fire. Before long the snake began to warm and move around. The boy seeing how beautiful it was began to stroke its scaly skin. Then the snake bit him.
Incredulous the boy looked at his swelling arm and cried out, “but you promised not to bite me. Now I will die. Why did you bite me?”
To which the serpent answered, “You knew what I was when you picked me up.

Let’s look at our text…

10 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, 11 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.

You can’t help but notice that there are some things out there that are just going to work- it’s in their nature.  It works.  So it is with the Word of God.  It really can’t help it.  Why?  Because it’s from God.

If only we all could be like the Word of God.  Working… all the time, exactly as we should.  That’s what God’s Word does.  Every time it is preached, every time it is taught, every time it is part of a prayer, every time it is mentioned in conversation, every time it flows from our lips it is the very power of God, the very sword of the Spirit, it is the very tool that God uses that waters the landscape of the human soul.  That is what the Word does- it works.  It never rests, unless we do in our speaking it, unless people do in their reading it, unless we rest in sharing it with others in any way we can, and God knows that can happen, can’t it?

Paul said in Romans 10, How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!  But don’t forget that before it Paul said, How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in?  And how can they believe in the one whom they have not heard?  And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?  And how can they preach unless they are sent?  There is a sad tendency in the human nature to do one thing- not work!  Not call, not send, not believe, isn’t there?!  There is a sad tendency in our nature to keep that Word closed up during the week, and not take advantage of the soul who sits around us at work who opens the door to talk about the Word, and instead let it sit bound up in our minds, in our souls, waiting to work, dying to work, but squelched instead by our sin.  How many of you have Bibles at work?  How many have them at school?  How many have them at home- and use them on a DAILY basis?  If I struggle with it, I know you must too, because it is even part of my job!  Or how many of you realize, “It’s summer time- the time for trips and family vacations.”  Do you take that time to stay in the Word, to remember the Lord in your stewardship, or is it time then to slack a bit, after all, you’re on vacation!

There is something now part of our nature that constantly needs to be exposed to the Word- and that is our sin.  Don’t get snatched away by those birds we heard about in our Gospel lesson, or get scorched by this world and its priorities!  Yes, we feel their strangle-hold every day.  But trust me; if that’s the way you want to continue- in that sin, the Word will still do its work on you- it just won’t be the work you want to hear.  For just as that rain produces green- so also it can bring the flood.  And that Word will remind you on the Last Day of the raging waters of God’s judgment that will sweep you away in a current that will not cease nor will it allow you to cling to any branch.  Now that may be the part of the Word we need to hear- but trust me, it’s not the part of the Word God wants you to focus on.

How about using something that really works to shoo off the birds, to block the scorch, to replace the attitude of your sinful nature with the attitude of your redemption- how about using the Gospel.  And praise be to God it wants to do nothing more than achieve the main purpose for which God sent it- to save us.

10 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, 11 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 wants all men to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth.  Faith comes from hearing the message and the message is heard through the Word of Christ.  These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.  What is the nature of the Word?  What is the heart and core of the message?  What is it that waters us so that we bud and flourish and produce seed?  Jesus.  The Word made flesh.  Jesus.  The fulfillment of the Word, the promise that was made, the promise that was kept, the promise that lives for us today- the promise that came to this world, that lived perfectly among us, that died perfectly for us, that rose from the grave because of us- to prove to every one of us that God’s Word really works.  Because he did.  Because he does.  Because he always will- to give us in His Gospel the assurance day in and day out that our sins have been wiped clean from his record book.  That His Word is the lamp, the power, and the glory for the salvation of all who believe.  That is the nature of the word- to save each and every one of us.

Don’t ever ask yourself the questions, “Why would we want to share the Word?”  or “Why would we want to go to church or have devotions or grow in the Word?”  Knowing what Christ has done for you the questions you better be asking are, “Why wouldn’t we want to share that?”  “Why wouldn’t we want to grow in that?”  So do it!  Grow, read, share!

Nature around us is ever-changing.  Ever groaning.  Ever waiting for it all to be done.  The nature of God is ready to begin- anew every day in building you up in your salvation!  In waiting for you to share it with others- because it works.  It accomplishes God’s purpose and God’s will.  Be beautiful in your feet- carry the Good News.  Grow in it yourself- stay exposed to it every day.  Watch it work in your very soul, it can’t help but happen- it’s God who’s working.  Enjoy the nature of His Word- to save.  In and through our Savior Jesus!     Amen.

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