So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty. Isaiah 55:11
Lily, a Bible translator, was flying home to her country when she was detained at the airport. Her mobile phone was searched, and when the officials found an audio copy of the New Testament on it, they confiscated the phone and questioned her for two hours. At one point they asked her to play the Scripture app, which happened to be set at Matthew 7:1–2: “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Hearing these words in his own language, one of the officers turned pale. Later, she was released and no further action was taken.
We don’t know what happened in that official’s heart at the airport, but we know that the “word that goes out from [God’s] mouth” accomplishes what He desires (Isaiah 55:11). Isaiah prophesied these words of hope to God’s people in exile, assuring them that even as the rain and snow make the earth bud and grow, so too what goes “out from [His] mouth” achieves His purposes (vv. 10–11).
We can read this passage to bolster our confidence in God. When we’re facing unyielding circumstances, such as Lily with the airport officials, may we trust that God is working—even when we don’t see the final outcome.
When was the last time you saw God at work? How have you received God’s love through the words He’s declared?
Heavenly Father, thank You for what You’ve revealed, which brings me hope, peace, and love. Help me to grow in my love for You.
This text in Isaiah 55 is a powerful reminder of one of the most important elements of our relationship with God—the element of mystery. We sometimes make the mistake of attempting to somehow categorize or distill the God of the universe into some small, understandable package. Any god who can be so reduced, however, is not the God of the Bible—nor the God we so desperately need. This issue seems to have been behind J. B. Phillips’ writing of the powerful little book Your God Is Too Small. Our God is too great, vast, and incomprehensible to be minimalized or neatly packaged. His ways and thoughts are beyond us (vv. 8–13), which means that we in our finiteness must learn to accept the mysteries of His greatness.