As the rain and snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so 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 55:10-11
I am finishing up my study of the book of Acts, and I can see how Isaiah’s declaration applies to Paul. Several times in Acts, Luke describes Paul’s call to Rome—and his determination to go there to testify. After being imprisoned in Caesarea for two years he is finally on his way to Rome, by ship. They are traveling in a season not favorable for sailing. He and the 275 other people on board the ship are shipwrecked. God protects them and they are treated well by the people of Malta. They wait out the winter there. Luke, the physician, was with Paul and recorded the journey to Rome in the 27th chapter of Acts.
Matthew Henry comments on chapter 27 with these words:
No storms or tempests can hinder God’s favour to his people, for he is a Help, always at hand.
The work that God had prepared beforehand for Paul was to proclaim the message of the gospel. Acts 9:15 states this about Paul: he is a chosen instrument of mine [of God] to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. Paul was called to proclaim the message of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection in Rome. He was to tell people about God’s offer of salvation through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.
It is easy to get distracted by world events and by tragedies in our nation. Why are Christians being beheaded? How did we ever get to the point that medical research seeks baby parts from abortion clinics? Why did Justice Scalia die now? In some sense our nation is in a shipwreck.
The words from Isaiah and the example of Paul are a great encouragement. Paul was not deterred by the execution of James and or by his own imprisonments.
Even though storms come up, we need to keep our focus on Jesus. God’s word will not return empty. I may stumble but He is faithful to help. We live with a precious hope. May we bring God glory.