10 “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,
11 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.
12 “For you shall go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
shall break forth into singing,
and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress;
instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle;
and it shall make a name for the LORD,
an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”
Isaiah 55 is one of the great treasuries of good news in the Bible. If you have the time, you should read the whole chapter. These are the final verses, so it is relatively short.
I think those of us who have spent our whole lives in the embrace of Jesus often forget just how much he has done for us. Isaiah references the steadfast and sure love God had for David earlier in this chapter. One of my friends and colleagues served the Hispanic population in a massive federal penitentiary in Colorado. These men lamented to my friend that they had never heard this Good News until they were in prison. They felt that had they heard it sooner they might have lived a different life which had not ended with them incarcerated for their crimes. They could see what Christ’s Word could have done for them in what they had lost.
God’s Word bears fruit. It does not return to him empty. In the countless lives which are lived in simple, humble decency and honesty, God’s Word bears its fruit. It also bears its fruit in the lives transformed in that prison, lives which had been filled with self-interest, violence, and hurt. God’s Word does its work in all sorts of situations, even this situation. The pandemic has laid bare some ugly realities of our culture. The love which God’s Word engenders within God’s people empowers us to acts of penitence, reflection, love, and service which go far beyond what the laws and dictates of the government demand of us. Secure in what God has said to us, we go out in joy and peace for we are the people of God, redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, fed by the very hand of God.