You will live in joy and peace. The mountains and hills will burst into song, and the trees of the field will clap their hands! Where once there were thorns, cypress trees will grow. Where nettles grew, myrtles will sprout up. These events will bring great honor to the Lord’s name; they will be an everlasting sign of his power and love.” (Isaiah 55:10-13 NLT)
Some of the promises in Isaiah are really rich in character, aren't they? The imagery presented for us here about God's Word is dynamic. As often he does, God uses a word picture to help us understand the impact of the Word of God in our lives. As rain comes down, it has an immediate impact on the plants which take in the refreshing of the downpour, right? Yet, there is a lasting effect to rain we might not have considered - it fills the wells, cisterns, and dry beds. It has a "reserve" effect, not just an immediate one. The significance of what seems to be "gone" in such a short while is lost to us because we don't see the inward effect of the rain! We often don't see the inward affect of the Word of God until our character is challenged and our choices have that moment where they are "defined" by what comes next!
Everywhere God sends his Word, it has an effect - it NEVER returns void! That is indeed something we need to latch onto in our prayer time, my friends - because if God's Word never returns void, then we need to start praying his Word! I often find myself recounting scripture as our pray, reminding God that his Word declares a certain promise. Why? I am laying foundation to my prayers. His Word ALWAYS produces fruit. As with any product of nature that bears fruit, there is a period of time between the "promise" of fruit and the "enjoyment" of fruit, isn't there? We can watch it develop, almost tasting the luxurious flavor of that fruit, but until it reaches the place of full development, that fruit isn't ready. In fact, it will disappoint when it is plucked too early! God's Word may not have the full effect the first time it is taken in, but trust me on this one, it has a "reserve effect" much greater than we might ever imagine!
In praying God's Word, we aren't coaxing God to act or respond a certain way. We are just recounting the wonderful promises he has made to us about things that matter in our lives. For example, when a parent sees their child making unwise choices in life, the parent may remind God that they have raised them in the truth and they are counting on God to return that child to the truth. They are resting on the scripture that says if we direct our child on the right path, when they are older, they will not leave it (Proverbs 22:6). It isn't magic to pray scripture. We are just counting on God's Word to NEVER return void - something he encourages us to do as we pray.
As we consider our passage today, I know I have often reminded God of the promise of his restorative power. Thorny ground yielding the might cypress tree speaks of a re-created "landscape" in our lives. There are many times when I look at the nettles and thorns in my own life and have to ask God if he can possibly bring anything good from such a barren and dry place. He inevitably reminds me of this scripture. Why? He is reminding me I can stand on the "reserve" of his Word - the ground may be dry right now, but there is something deep within the well that will nourish and refresh those dry places! We may not realize the power of the Word in prayer until we actually begin to use it more and more. I would encourage us to make it a part of our prayer this year. We could just be surprised to realize such depth of hope, peace, assurance, and refreshment dwells within each of us! Just sayin!