The Word of God

“As the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: so shall my Word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”
—Isaiah 55:10, 11

THE WORD OF GOD REVEALS the Divine plan for the reconciliation of the sin-cursed and dying race. In our text we are given the blessed assurance that this Divine purpose will not fail, that God will cause the things spoken by his Word to be accomplished. This is one of the most important lessons we learn when we first become acquainted with the truth.

And how blessed it is to be thus assured! It gives us a firm foundation for faith, enabling us to rejoice in the hope set before us in the Gospel. Blessed assurance!

Not only does our text comfort us with the assurance that God is graciously willing and abundantly able to accomplish his loving purpose which he has revealed through his Word, but also that his Word itself has a function to perform. This also will be effectively accomplished in keeping with the Divine purpose. The Apostle Paul assures us that the Word of God is “quick” and “powerful,” sharper than a “twoedged sword.”—Heb. 4: 12

Not only does God’s Word reveal his plan, it is also used by him to accomplish much of it. This is especially true with respect to the outworking of his will in the hearts and lives of his consecrated people. And in this connection also, how blessed it is to realize that if we yield ourselves unreservedly to the influence of the Divine Word, we will certainly be sanctified by it, and made “meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.”—Col. 1:12


The psalmist wrote that God’s Word was a lamp to his feet, and a light unto his path. (Ps. 119:105) And again, “The entrance of thy words giveth light.” (Ps. 119:130) How much we need this enlightenment! The people of the world are engulfed in darkness, but by his Word God gives us ‘light’—“the light of the knowledge of the glory of God.” (II Cor. 4:6) He has ‘shined’ into our hearts by the Gospel, and while we are still in a darkened world we can now see our way.

Light is a symbol of knowledge, of understanding, and how wonderful is the understanding the Lord has given us through his Word! We now know the Divine plan, both for ourselves and for the world. In our daily walk in the narrow way our steps are guided by the Word. We can depend upon its directives to guide us aright; that is, if we are sincere and humble in their application. James wrote, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all liberally, and upbraideth not.” (James 1:5) It is through his Word that God answers our prayers for wisdom. If we search diligently for this wisdom, our pathway will become “as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.”—Prov. 4:18


God’s Word is also likened to food, because it nourishes us as ‘New Creatures’ in Christ Jesus. (II Cor. 5:17; Gal. 6:15) As we feed upon it, we grow strong in the Lord and in the power of his might. Through this spiritual nourishment we grow up to the stature of manhood in Christ Jesus. Quoting from Moses, Jesus said to the Adversary, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”—Matt. 4:4

Jesus referred to the Word of God as ‘food’ in one of his promises pertaining to the end of the age and the time of his Second Presence. He told his disciples that when he returned he would gird himself, and would serve the household of faith with “meat in due season.” (Luke 12:37; Matt. 24:45 ) How rich has been the feast of truth we have enjoyed through the fulfillment of this promise! It is all the ‘Word’ of God, the Word that has gone forth from his mouth.


Again, the Word of God is like water. It is refreshing, invigorating, life-giving. How dry and desert-like our lives would be without the refreshing waters of the truth! We rejoice in the assurance given by the Master that spiritual ‘bread’ and ‘water’ will be abundantly provided for those who “hunger and thirst after righteousness.” (Matt. 5:6) Jesus promised that such would be “filled.” This has proved to be true. How satisfying and refreshing has been the Word of present truth!

The Word of God is also likened to water because of its cleansing effect in our lives. Paul wrote concerning our being cleansed “with the washing of water by the Word.” (Eph. 5:26) This function of God’s Word was foreshadowed by the water in the laver located in the court of the typical Tabernacle. (Exod. 30:18) Here the priests washed, and to us—the antitypical priesthood—the Word is a laver, a place for cleansing from the filthiness of the flesh.


“His truth shall be thy shield and buckler,” David wrote. (Ps. 91:4) As Christians we are “soldier[s] of Jesus Christ.” (II Tim. 2:3) We are fighting a “good fight of faith.” (I Tim. 6:12) Soldiers have enemies who fight against them; and our enemies are the world, the flesh, and the Devil. Against these enemies the Word of God is as an impregnable armor of protection. Satan, and the unseen powers allied with him, are especially powerful, and Paul tells us that to “stand” against these we will need to put on “the whole armour of God.”—Eph. 6:11

Paul identifies each part of this ‘armor’ and suggests the manner in which it serves to safeguard us against all “the fiery darts of the wicked.” (Eph. 6:13-18) There is the “helmet of salvation.” This well represents our knowledge of the truth. It is essential that we know the Word of God in order to give battle to the Adversary. When Satan attacked Jesus as he was leaving the wilderness, his knowledge of the Word was his protection. Against every fiery dart of temptation, the Master’s defense was, “It is written.” (Matt. 4:4-10) So it will need to be with us if we are to be good soldiers of Jesus Christ.

Another part of the Christian’s armor is the “breastplate of righteousness.” (Eph. 6:14) The breastplate of an ancient armor bearer was designed to protect the heart and other vital organs. The Word says, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”—Prov. 4:23

We know the Lord is not judging us according to the unwilling imperfections of our fallen flesh, but the Adversary endeavors to discourage us along this line. He would have us believe that there is little use in our trying to please the Lord, because we always come so far short of the Divine standard of righteousness. But in this also the ‘Word’ affords protection, for it assures us of our Heavenly Father’s loving provision of justification through Christ—that our standing of righteousness is in him, and not in ourselves.

So when the Adversary hurls his fiery darts of discouragement, they fail to injure us, for we remember the protective assurance of the Word which declares, “Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.”—Rom. 8:33,34

Paul mentions the “shield of faith” as that part of the Christian armor designed to quench “all” the fiery darts of Satan. It is the faith … “once delivered unto the saints.” (Eph. 6:16; Jude 3) Merely to have a knowledge of this faith is not sufficient. We must have full confidence in it. The symbolism of the ‘shield of faith’ also includes our belief in the promises of God. Full confidence in the rightness of the Divine plan, including the manner in which God’s providences are operating in our lives, furnishes a bulwark of strength against any efforts Satan may make to destroy us as New Creatures.


Next is “the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.” (Eph. 6:17) This is the offensive part of our armor. With it we give battle to our enemies; but it is not a carnal sword. None of the weapons of our warfare, Paul says, are “carnal, but mighty, through God to the pulling down of strong holds; … and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God.”—II Cor. 10:4,5

Satan’s fiery darts are suggestions which are contrary to the will of God for the body members of Christ. These often seem plausible, and are always more pleasing to the flesh than is the expressed will of God. If we accept these and are governed by them, they result in serious injury to us as New Creatures. If we wield the ‘sword of the Spirit’ to repel and destroy them, we will be victorious in each skirmish with the Adversary.

Our walk in the narrow way is also protected by the Word. Paul says that our feet are “shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace.” (Eph. 6:15) The way of the Christian is often rough and difficult. The Adversary places stumbling stones in our pathway over which we may fall. The Word speaks of the “snare of the fowler.”—Ps. 91:3

Since the protection of our feet is referred to as the Gospel of ‘peace,’ it indicates that one of Satan’s methods of attack is to lure us into carnal strife and controversy with those who oppose the truth. Such a course is often appealing to the flesh, but is a snare and a stumbling stone to the New Creature. “Blessed are the peacemakers,” says the Word, “for they shall be called the children of God.”—Matt. 5:9

We are to have our “loins girt about with truth.” (Eph. 6:14) The function of a girdle in ancient times suggests it as an apt symbolism of service. The protective qualities of the truth depend upon our holding it unselfishly, in love. We must be faithful servants of the truth, of the Word. We cannot enjoy the benefits of the truth just for ourselves, but are to use them faithfully for the blessing of others; otherwise the ‘whole armor of God’ will not remain securely bound to us, and sooner or later we will fall before our enemies.


When the Lord assures us that the ‘Word’ which ‘goeth forth’ from his ‘mouth’ shall not return unto him ‘void,’ it is important to remember that as his servants he uses us as channels of his truth, his Word. God does not shout his Word from his throne in heaven, but conveys it to the hearts and minds of his people through human instruments. He inspired the ancient prophets to record his plan in the Old Testament. He guided Jesus in his teachings. His Holy Spirit miraculously enlightened the minds of the apostles so that their sermons and writings serve to elaborate further the ‘Word’ that goes forth from his mouth.

Paul explains that in addition to the miraculously inspired channels of the Word, the Lord has provided pastors, teachers and evangelists. In a broader sense, every consecrated child of God is a channel of his truth, for ‘the Spirit of the Lord God’ is upon them all, anointing them to this service. The great plan of God which is outlined by his Word is the reconciliation of the sin-cursed and dying race. The plan is centered in Christ Jesus, the Redeemer and Savior. Paul wrote: “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself,” and then adds that in this great project we are “ambassadors for Christ.” In order to serve in this way, the Lord has given to us “the Word of reconciliation.”—II Cor. 5:19,20

We cannot keep the truth to ourselves and expect to receive all the rich benefits it contains for us. We feed upon the truth as we serve it to others. We are refreshed by it as we seek to ‘water’ others. The cleansing power of the truth in our own lives is the more effective as we exhort one another to love and good works. The defense of the truth against the attacks of the various enemies of the New Creature is greatly strengthened as together we contend earnestly for the faith once delivered unto the saints.


Paul speaks of the work of God accomplished by the “foolishness of preaching.” (I Cor. 1:21) This ‘preaching’ is not limited to lecturing from a platform. Every faithful consecrated child of God participates in it to the extent that he permits the Word to radiate from his lips and his life. From the human standpoint it might well seem foolish that such a mighty work could be accomplished in seemingly so ineffective a manner. The reason it can be done is because “God … giveth the increase.”—I Cor. 3:7

The work of God in preparing for the kingdom is symbolically described in Isaiah 51:16 as planting “the heavens” and laying “the foundations of the earth.” The ‘earth’ referred to here is the visible phase of the kingdom of Christ, the personnel of which will be the resurrected Ancient Worthies, such as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and the prophets of the Old Testament. They were prepared for this honored position through their obedience to the Word of God as it was made known to them in past ages. The ‘heavens’ are symbolic of the spiritual phase of the kingdom, made up of Jesus and his church who also are prepared for their positions of glory by obedience to the will of God as expressed through his Word.

Jesus said, in consecration to his Father, “Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.” (Heb. 10:7) It was his faithfulness to this covenant that qualified him to be the ‘King of kings and Lord of lords.’ Thus it was the Word of God recorded by the prophets that sanctified the Master, or set him apart for the holy and honored position he occupies in the ‘new heavens.’ On behalf of his followers, Jesus prayed, “Sanctify them through thy truth,” and then he added, “Thy Word is truth.”—John 17:17

But in order for the truth to accomplish this Divine purpose in ‘creating’ the new heavens, it must be communicated from one to another. God does not emblazon it upon the skies where all can read it. He gave it to the prophets, to Jesus, and to the apostles, by the power of his Spirit; and we receive it from them and continue to communicate it one to another.

This being the Lord’s arrangement, we get the force of the Lord’s own statement, when through the prophet he said, “I have put my words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou art my people.”—Isa. 51:16


We must also have the Word in our hearts, but it should not be hidden there. If it is to be truly effective in our lives it must also be upon our lips. It was so with Jesus, who is represented prophetically as saying, “I have preached righteousness in the great congregation: lo, I have not refrained my lips, O Lord, thou knowest. I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation: I have not concealed thy lovingkindness and thy truth from the great congregation.”—Ps. 40:9,10

It is a humbling thought that the Word of God, which he declares shall not return unto him void, can be communicated through us, and will be if we are faithful to the commission given to us by the anointing of the Spirit. How reassuring it is to know that even though our efforts are feeble, and we speak with lisping, stammering tongues, the ‘Word’ will accomplish the good pleasure of the Lord.

Very soon the work of the entire age will be successfully completed. We may not be able to see now just what our part in this labor of love has accomplished, but beyond the veil we will discover that the Word of God, as uttered by our imperfect lips, contributed something to the total effort, that the words we spoke to glorify our God were blessed by him to the strengthening of others in the narrow way, and to the enrichment of their spiritual lives.

That same Word, while being communicated for the gathering and building up of the church, has served as a witness to the world. In this way also it accomplishes the will of God. We may at times think that our efforts are in vain, but that is only because we do not always realize that the Lord’s ways are higher than our ways, and his thoughts than our thoughts. God’s Word, as proclaimed by us and by his authority, may not accomplish what we would like to see, but we may be sure that it will accomplish what he pleases. In this we can rejoice.

Upon the basis of this assurance, let us endeavor to be more and more emptied of self, and filled with his Word—so filled that it will overflow from our hearts and lips for the blessing of others, and the glory of God!

It is strengthening to our faith that the many beautiful promises contained in God’s Word are described by our Father thus: “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.”—Isa. 55:11,12

The blessing of mankind will not occur without an appreciation of God’s Word by the world, and this ‘water of life’ will be available free, as will all the other blessings of that kingdom. Even the vegetation on earth is animated, and joins in the joy that will come. The mountains and hills ‘sing,’ and the trees ‘clap their hands,’ to give praise and glory to the Author of the Word—Jehovah, our Heavenly Father!

Dawn Bible Students Association
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