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December 08

Isaiah 55, 8-11

Something to read

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 and the snow come down from heaven,
   and do not return there until they have watered 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 succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
New Revised Standard Version

To read the King James Version, click here

Something to think about

Empty promises. Whenever we hear that phrase, we can hear the disappointment that lies behind it. Something was said or implied by one to another, and they have failed to meet their claim and deliver what was said. I have received many empty promises. I have made many empty promises. When we say ‘I promise’ or ‘will you promise’, we know it is tinged with the possibility that the promise can be broken. Therefore I read today's verses with a sense of relief. 

I, for one, am grateful that God does not think or act as I do. God declares that it is His ways that are higher than ours, and His word that will accomplish and succeed in the purpose for which it was sent. God’s promises will not return empty (v11), but will do what is claimed.  Isaiah has already recorded this in 40:8, promising that the Word of our God will stand for ever. And now as he reaches the climax of chapters 40-55, he reminds again that God’s word is effective, like rain and snow, which are not vague ideas but are tangible and real, watering the earth to give seed and bread. 

This whole section (ch.55) over the past three days has been about a promise not just to Israel but all people, for the whole body, to respond and be sharers in the perfect promise found in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 3:6).

Something to do

Stop making any promises. That is a stark instruction. But perhaps it is this admittance that will allow us to be better keepers of the things we wish to do. Think about the promises we often make to God, and that we break. We can resolve to do our best, but we know we are imperfect.  God knows. That is ok.

I am not suggesting we cease in our desire to consistently and honestly keep our word, but we must admit that the only perfect Word and promise comes from Christ alone. 

Something to pray

Dear God, help me to better understand Your promises and Word. I pray that I can discern in my life the areas which You wish to wash clean, for me to start again. I ask that my words, my promises and my intentions are always honest and characterised in Your love. Lord Jesus, I trust in You, not me. Amen.

Today's contributor is Russell Winfield, a minister who trained at Westminster College, Cambridge. 

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