“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.” – Isaiah 55:11
You may sometimes have the feeling that the preaching of God’s Word is not powerful or effective. Sometimes, it seems like there is no response in the hearers, either good or bad.
When God sends Jonah to Nineveh, he is giving the Ninevites grace by sending them a warning. It’s not a very long or detailed message. Jonah doesn’t hand out theology textbooks or set up a four-week Bible study. The message is simple and clear – it is a message of judgment. And yet, this Word from the Lord is enough to cause a fire of repentance throughout the city.
That’s the thing with God’s Word: something always happens. When God speaks, something always happens. To our human eyes, it may not be obvious immediately. But it is a guarantee: God’s Word always succeeds in its purposes. As it’s been said, the same sun that melts wax also hardens clay. God’s Word will either soften hearts or harden hearts – but it will not be ineffectual.
In the case of the Ninevites, the result of hearing God’s Word is immediate — they repent. They believed God, called for a fast and from the greatest to the least of them put on sackcloth (Jonah 3:5). This is a gift and grace of repentance. The Lord is doing this work.
Suggestions for prayer
Thank the Lord that his Word always accomplishes its purposes. Ask Him to help you see the power of his Word in action. Pray that his Word may lead to a response of faith for the hearers.
Pastor Jeremy Veldman is the co-pastor at Rehoboth United Reformed Church in Hamilton, Ontario, serving as Minister of Congregational Life. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com.