When God’s Words Return Empty

EMPTY wordsso 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 55:11

This is a very familiar verse to many, and one that I have quoted often. I have usually focused on the first two lines and often quoted only those first two lines. Today, as I was studying the verse, it was the last two lines that stood out to me.

Initially, I was looking at “my word” in the first line; considering what that meant in its fullness. Jesus is referred to as “The Word,” the Expression of God. However, the Greek word used here in the Greek version of the Old Testament is rhema, not logos, which is the Greek word used in the New Testament in the first chapter of John, which refers to Jesus as The Word.

In pondering the verse further, those last two lines began to stand out. The writer has used those last two lines to give further definition to the meaning of “not return to me empty.”

They tell you, in a dually emphasized way, that not only will God’s word accomplish and achieve “a” purpose, but a specific purpose. It will not accomplish your desire or your purpose; it will accomplish God’s specific purpose for that word, according to his will and desire for that word when he sent it out.

How often do we speak forth God’s word with our own desire and purposes behind it? Have you have you ever been frustrated when God’s word, in some form or another, does not seem to be accomplishing the purpose you expected? Have you quoted scripture verses in ways they were never intended?

A good example is Habakkuk 1:5.

“Look at the nations and watch—
and be utterly amazed.
For I am going to do something in your days
that you would not believe,
even if you were told.”

I have heard this verse quoted many times as a “promise” of good things to come. Was that God’s intent when he inspired the prophet to write it? What was it that God was about to do that was so unbelievable and amazing?

We find the answer in the verses that follow:

6 “I am raising up the Babylonians,
that ruthless and impetuous people,
who sweep across the whole earth
to seize dwellings not their own.
7 They are a feared and dreaded people;
they are a law to themselves
and promote their own honor.”

What was the amazing thing that God was about to do? He was going to send the Babylonians to attack and destroy Jerusalem. That was the “desire” and “purpose” for which this word was sent out, and the word declared was accomplished as the Lord intended.

God’s words are not meant to be used as magic spells to accomplish our desires, even when those desires are holy and good. He has specific intents and purposes for his words, and he states that those originally intents and purposes WILL be accomplished – nothing more and nothing less.

Have you ever misused God’s word because you didn’t take time to seek out God’s intent for those words rather than just applying your own meaning to them?

Would love to hear your comments