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. Isaiah 55:10-11 (NIV)
Seeds and Bread
This passage of Isaiah is packed. I’ve seen chapter 55 preached in bits and pieces over the years. Before this, in verse 9, is the famous “my ways higher than your ways” passage. Right after is “the mountains and hills will burst into song.” But this particular passage was in an email this morning and it caught my attention.
Many times the focus in this particular passage, v. 10-11, is “It will not return to me empty.” I have heard this quoted in prayer over and over in healing and provision prayers. But this morning what stuck out to me was v. 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,
His Word Came Forth
I was struck by the thought that God’s words are set forth as a provision for those in need. Following in v. 11 we get the comparison to rain and snow, “so is my word that goes out from my mouth.” Not only that, His Word came forth from His very being! Like the rain and snow that brings seed and bread, His word came forth from His being. He delivered His Word to us to bring mercy in the form of the infant Jesus.
You know that “My ways are higher than your ways” part? He is referring to His mercy. In verse 7 Isaiah says this:
7 Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.
When God refers to His ways being higher He is referring to the fact that His mercy is more than we can comprehend. So when we get to our verses(10-11), His word that goes forth from His mouth is Mercy. The word that goes forth from His very being to us as an infant is Mercy that will not fail.
His Word came in living flesh, experienced human life and then sacrificed himself for you. He came bringing good news to you. He came bringing provisions for your fruitfulness. He came bringing mercy(bread) in your time of need(hunger.) Is your season one of sowing? Is your season one of need? There is mercy to lead you to v. 12-13:
12 You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.13 Instead of the thornbush will grow the juniper, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow. This will be for the Lord’s renown, for an everlasting sign, that will endure forever.”
Common Bushes, Uncommon Mercy
God’s Word came and will endure forever. His love endures forever. He celebrates you. He will provide for you. Verse 13 proclaims instead of the thornbush, juniper will grow.
The juniper bush grows plentifully in the desert regions. They are choice places for camping to protect from the desert winds. By day they offer protection from the sun. The prophet Elijah lay down beneath one to sleep in 1 Kings 19:4-5.
And instead of briers, the myrtle will grow. The myrtle is a common indigenous shrub in Israel that has dark green scented leaves and dark berries which you can eat. He promises to bring you the juniper and the myrtle when you are in a barren and dry place. His mercy is bountiful even in places of discomfort. It may look like a common bush and not the burning one you were hoping for but His mercy is there.
So, in this season of celebrating the birth of our Savior, who entered into the world as a common baby, I bless you and your family to experience his uncommon Mercy and provision. And in this season, which is so difficult for many, I bless you to be uncommon mercy and provision, to be the juniper and myrtle, for those in need. He has equipped you whether you feel like it or not. He will give you seed for the sower and bread for the hungry…Look for His mercy.