ODJ: Living and Powerful

October 25, 2017 

READ: Isaiah 55:1-13 

It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit (v.11).

“Where will the word / resound? Not here, there is not enough silence.” These words from T. S. Eliot’s haunting poem “Ash Wednesday” lament a world of people so hardened and afraid that they “walk among noise and deny the voice”. The poem echoes the thought of John 1, where the light of Jesus persistently shines in the darkness of a world that will not recognise Him (vv.5,10).

The picture is a troubling one: can God’s voice be ineffective and ultimately ignored? Thankfully, the answer to that question is a resounding no. Though people may resist, deny and avoid God’s voice—always speaking to us through prayer, Scripture and creation—it is still alive and powerful, “cutting between soul and spirit” (Hebrews 4:12). Whether we acknowledge it or not, His voice is actively shaping and transforming this world. “It always produces fruit” (Isaiah 55:11).

Why do we resist God’s voice? Perhaps we fear it will be too painful to listen to what He has to say. We would rather follow our own ideas about God than to listen for the voice that constantly challenges us.

Or perhaps we secretly believe there’s no hope for us. So, fearing a condemning word, we try to avoid God’s voice speaking into our hearts. But Isaiah 55 reminds us that enjoying God’s kingdom doesn’t depend on us, but on His power and mercy. “Turn to our God, for he will forgive generously”, Isaiah urges. Because His mercy is far above what we can imagine, there is always hope (vv.7-11). He is preparing a future of “joy and peace” when the entire world will rejoice (vv.12-13).

In Eliot’s poem, the speaker finally surrenders to the voice, ending with a prayer, “Let my cry come unto Thee.” May we too seek His voice today.

—Monica Brands

365-day-plan: Acts 11:1-18

Read John 7:37-38 to see how Jesus identified Himself with God’s voice and the invitation of Isaiah 55. 
In what ways do you think we sometimes mistake our own beliefs about God with actively listening for His guidance? How can we commit to being receptive to His leading?