Seek The Lord

God hath said to all men who draw breath:

Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares 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 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, 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.
(Isa 55:6-11)

It’s interesting that God says His word does not return to him empty. What do you think this means? Does it mean that all who hear the word will be saved, or does God have a double-edged intent in the proclamation of biblical truth?

Any thoughts?

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4 thoughts on “Seek The Lord

  1. Some pastors say “…it shall not return void…” The God’s Word Translation says, “…My word, which comes from my mouth, is like the rain and snow. It will not come back to me without results. It will accomplish whatever I want and achieve whatever I send it to do.” I have heard this to mean that this is God’s Word and He keeps His promises unlike man who will spout empty words. Man will always say this and always say that, but won’t always give action or result to those words. God on the other hand, being the omniscient and almighty God He is, will always put action and result to that which He says. Is there any time in the Bible where God said something and it never happened?

  2. Hi Brandon;

    I love this passage. The first part I think is a general call to all people to repent and come back to the Lord. While God has mercy on whom he has mercy, his general call still goes out to all people. It is the “whosoever will” of the New Testament and the general call of Jesus. The general call goes out to everyone, but it is effectual in only some.

    I think one of the key sections in the above passage is the following: 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. God’s Word will accomplish what God intended it to accomplish when it is preached. This is the effectual result of the general call. It actually accomplishes what God intended. I think this is why preaching God’s word int he New Testament context is so important. In isaiah’s time, the prophet spoke God’s word. Now we have the Bible. When we preach the Bible, it is in effect a proclmation of God’s Word, and while I think this specific text refers to God’s will in using Persia in the history of Israel, the application to God’s word today is still appropriate.

  3. Thanks for the comments, fellas.
    Here’s my take on the text.
    While the immediate context appears to imply a positive salvific end, I believe it also must mean that God’s word works a purpose in those he has not called. Else how could we honestly say His word does not return void if only a minority of those who hear the gospel truly respond to it? Does God’s word fail in all that reject the gospel offer or is God working his will in the unbeliever as well.
    Consider God’s commission to Isaiah in Chapter 6:
    And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.” And he said, “Go, and say to this people: “‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’ Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and blind their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.” (Isa 6:8-10)
    Isaiah was to preach God’s word and the intended result was a hardening of the people’s hearts.
    So I truly believe the text when it states his word always accomplishes what God intends. Through the proclamation of the word God has mercy on whomever he wills and hardens whomever he wills.
    Do you think that’s a sound conclusion?

  4. Hey Brandon;

    Yes, I think that God’s word does work a purpose in those He has not called. Pharoah is an example. See Romans 9. Moses spoke the word of the Lord to him, and this word and the signs and wonders accomplished what God intended, even though I don’t think God called Pharaoh is a salvific manner. Jesus ministered to Judas for 3 years, and Judas saw first hand the works of Christ, and even participated in them (sending out the 12 and the 72). But he was also called the son of perdition. Sometimes God’s word blinds, as in parables, and sometimes it serves to open eyes. But everything God does is for the glory of God!

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