The Water of the Word
“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, 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.” (Isaiah 55:10-11)
In Bible times, Israel was wholly dependent on rain for its fertility. While Egypt and Mesopotamia could irrigate from their great rivers, Israel could not, since its only major river (the Jordan) lay well below sea level. The Israelites were therefore entirely dependent upon God sending rain. Because of this, they sometimes became enticed by the Baal worship of the surrounding peoples. This was a form of fertility worship, with debased sexual practices which sought to provoke the gods to send the rains and release fertility on the land. But again and again the prophets drew them away from this, focusing them on the living God alone as the One Who sends the rain.
But the prophets also said that, as surely as God sent literal rain on the land, so he brings “spiritual rain” to feed and refresh His people through His word. When such rain comes, they promised, the word and promise of God would surely be brought to pass.
One of the strange things about a drought is that we tend not to notice it until it is too late. We enjoy the pleasant summer and basking in the sunshine; but then, suddenly, it is announced that we are short of water. Hosepipe bans are enforced; we can’t water the garden or wash the car. We suddenly need water and recognize how much we have missed it. Isn’t that exactly how it often is in our Christian lives? We are going along happily, thinking we are doing OK, when – suddenly – we feel there is a desperate shortage of “spiritual water” in our lives.
Perhaps you feel like that today. If so, Isaiah has the answer. Ask God to fulfill His promise of breaking up your hardness and renewing you and your circumstances through his Spirit–inspired word.
“You gave abundant showers, O God; you refreshed your weary inheritance.” (Psalm 68:9)
Copyright © 2017 Martin Manser and Mike Beaumont