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; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:10 - 11 (NRSV)
If the rain which falls from above is supposed to bring water to grow the crops, but falls on solid rock, is the purpose of God thwarted? Not according to Isaiah. These verses declare that God’s irrigation process is without flaw. Water that splashes off a rock will eventually find its way to the needy place. God’s design at that point is always fulfilled.
So much for the farming metaphor – what about the power of God’s Word in the earth today? The candle seems to be growing dim, eh? Evidence points to the fastest growing segment of population as “nones,” people who are not affiliated with any church and don’t intend to change. God? No thank you!
Is the Word of God growing weak and ineffective? That would mean the omnipotent God is not really all-powerful. Or, if He ever was, He isn’t so now…he’s changed, weaker. IF so, that would also mean God is untruthful, and, by definition…not God.
But God said His Word would accomplish His purpose. And that purpose does not always result exclusively in harvest; sometimes it results in disaster. Consider the rain Noah encountered; he preached to a whole generation of “nones”. There was the salvation of eight souls – but the majority report was tragic.
For someone like me this is one of the most important truths to grasp…that God’s Word will not always produce harvest as we understand harvest; sometimes “crop-failure” points to the omnipotence of God.
Compare the “bumper crop” to the “dry-bones harvest”:
Billy Graham comes to town and there are 32,853 decision cards filled out; new Christians are popping up in churches all over the place. What a harvest!
I have preached several revivals where not even a single person was saved.
Question: Did Billy preach a different gospel than Russell? Was it the skill of the preacher in focus? Or was it the condition of the soil (rock-hard hearts)? Or was it a season of drought? Or was the Word of God effective in both cases?
The Glory of God Revealed
In both cases – whether it is a “glorious harvest of souls” or if the voice of heaven seems distant and silent – the Word of God is accomplishing its task, pointing to and glorifying the omnipotent God of Heaven. Those who bow the knee to Christ glorify Him by obedience; those who refuse to bow will show His glory by judgment.
That is true now, and it will be true throughout eternity:
For the Scriptures say,
Romans 14:11 (NLT)
That is an omnipotent God, Who is still so, and will be forever.
If your efforts to proclaim God’s Word seem ineffective and pointless, remember it is God’s Word which is tied to the omnipotence of God…not your effort. God will, in His grace and because of His love for you, honor your effort.
Don’t get discouraged, saint!
Remember, the Lord, God, Omnipotent reigneth!