Isaiah 53 describes Christ’s death and resurrection and then the chapters after show the resulting benefits and blessings in the New Covenant in His Blood. In Isaiah 55 God reveals how He gets His blessings from heaven to earth (us) so that we spring forth in life and fruitfulness:
'My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,' says the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there (at once - it has a purpose to fulfil first), but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My WORD be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it' (v8-11).
God’s blessing (the WATER OF LIFE) is sent down as the RAIN from heaven which enters the soil activating it for life and then returning (evaporating) to heaven. This RAIN is likened to His THOUGHTS = HIS WORDS: So shall My WORD be that goes forth from My mouth.
This passage reveals the 3 stages of progression of the Word of God:
1. ITS DESCENT 2. ITS WORK 3. ITS RETURN
First of all, this scripture was fulfilled by JESUS, the WORD spoken from God (John 1:1,14) Who came down from heaven. A word is an outward shell (of sound) containing life and power. So, Jesus appeared within in a shell of flesh but He contained the fullness of God’s life (Col 2:9). He embodied and contained God’s high thoughts and brought God’s life into the world making men bring forth and bud. Then, having completed His work He returned to heaven in a cloud, as rain returns to the clouds of heaven. He did not return void but He accomplished His mission.
Secondly, it is fulfilled in us. He took us with Him, for when we believe in Christ we are risen with Him and so now we belong in heaven’s glory (Col 3:1). Then He sends us back to the world with a ministry of life. When we let the Word change us and the Spirit fill us, we become containers of God’s life like Jesus. Thus we are WORDS from God, sent into the earth with the Gospel to bring life to others. We are sent forth from God as His Words to a dying and thirsty world, who will spring to life if they receive us. We shall return to heaven one day having prospered in our mission. If we receive the Word, it will change us and ensure that we will not return void (empty), but with much fruit having succeeded in drawing men to Christ.
Thirdly, it shows how the Word of God works in us (the soil) now.
The Word has 3 stages of progression.
1. IT DESCENDS from Heaven
2. It WORKS in the earth bringing LIFE
3. It then RETURNS to Heaven
For it to do its work in us (like good soil) we have two responsibilities:
We must (1) RECEIVE it and (2) RETURN it.
1. Receiving God’s Word requires the right attitude of humility
The key to this attitude is realising that it is not the words of man but of God, not of earth but of heaven. They come from far above and so are far greater and higher than our puny thoughts:
'For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways' says the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain comes down and the snow from heaven.'
These words are designed to prepare and open our hearts to receive God’s words, so that we do not lean to our own understanding or take our opinions and thoughts too seriously, as if they were the last word (Proverbs 3:5). If our mind is full of our own thinking we cannot be open to receive God’s thoughts in His Word.
A receptive humble heart towards the Word of God is developed by realising that they have the power to transform us and bring us to life if we receive them: 'but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My WORD be that goes forth from My mouth.'
Look at a garden with and without water and you will see the difference God’s Word will make in your life. To receive is to LISTEN and HEAR with our ears open just as we would listen to the any other important life-transforming news. Then it can do its work in us: 'We thank God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God
which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually works also in you who believe' (1Thess 2:13).
2. Returning God’s Word to heaven completes the cycle of progression:
'It shall not RETURN to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.'
God sent His Word (the Bible) from heaven to us, but it cannot do its work until we (1) RECEIVE it into our heart, and then (2) RETURN it back to heaven. We must speak it out, we must release it through our lips. The word (rain) that has been received into the heart and then returned back to God by our lips has the guarantee of success. We (1) HEAR and (2) SPEAK. We (1) believe (receive) it into our hearts and (2) confess it with our lips:
'The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart' (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you CONFESS with your mouth ‘Jesus is Lord’ and BELIEVE in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one BELIEVES unto righteousness, and with the mouth CONFESSION is made unto salvation' (Rom 10:8-10).
Satan also works by trying to get us to receive his words of hatred, fear, unbelief, despair, failure and when he gets you to return them to him by speaking it (words always return to their source), the process is completed and he can acheive his work in and through you. Therefore the battle over your life is decided on: WHO CONTROLS YOUR MOUTH?
Matthew 12:34-37: 'Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth (by speaking) good things, and an evil man out of his evil treasure brings forth (by speaking) evil things.' Here again we see that first we receive either good or bad words into our hearts (and so get filled with good or evil), and then they are able (authorised and activated) to bring forth (create) good or evil in our lives when we speak them out: 'for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.'
So, 1. WE STORE UP (receive) good or bad treasure and then,
2. WE BRING IT FORTH into manifestation by speaking it out.
The words we speak must return to their source (God or satan) and in so doing they fulfil their mission, thus even a prayer addressed to God will go to satan and activate his power, if it springs from evil thoughts (e.g: a desire to control people). Words have great power and so we will have to give an account for every word we speak: 'But I say to you that
for every idle (careless, negative) word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.' The words we receive and return will either make or break us, causing us to either bring forth life or death - for life and death is in the power of the tongue.