"The Holy Spirit teaches man better than all the books; He teaches him to understand the Scriptures better than he can understand them from the teaching of any other; and of his own accord he does everything God wills he should, so the Law dare make no demands upon him."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 280. Pentecost Sunday John 14:23-31.
KJV Isaiah 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. 10 For 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: 11 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. 12 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.
This passage shows that the Word of God always has divine power, the power and efficacy of the Holy Spirit.
By comparing the Word of God to snow and rain, the prophet revealed that the Word having no effect is an impossibility. Especially in the desert, snow and rain always cause growth. In the Midwest, people will water their lawns during a dry spell, but one rainstorm will accomplish what all the sprinkling cannot – green up all the lawns at once. Snow also has that effect, blanketing the earth, keeping it warm and moist, melting down into growth-producing water.
“It shall not return unto Me void” is a double-negative making any exception impossible. No one can say, “Sometimes the Word is powerful and effective, sometimes it is not.” That is why the Holy Spirit cannot be separated from the Word, because the Word is always God’s and always has divine power. In addition, this power and effectiveness is declared in three ways, reminding us of the Trinity:
1. It shall not return unto Me void.
2. It shall accomplish that which I please.
3. It shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
Nothing is said about man making God’s Word effective.
In the Parable of the Sower, (Matthew 13 and Mark 4) man broadcasts the seed, which is the Word. Like seed, the Word is already alive with divine power.
Another comparison is Hebrews 4:12-13 -
KJV Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.
This means the very teaching or preaching of the Word has the power of the Roman two-edged sword. That is why preaching the pure Word has an effect on all audiences. Some riot because of its effect. Some repent and believe, overcome with the truth of the Word. Some harden their hearts against the Word, as anti-Christian cultists at door do when they hear the Gospel spoken to them.
The Word of God belongs to Him alone, not to man:
KJV 1 Thessalonians 2:13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.