When rain and snow come down and water the earth, they make barren ground fertile, and fertile ground fruitful (Is 55:10). This fertile ground produces seed used for next season's planting or for making bread (Is 55:10). God's word is like that (Is 55:11). It does not return void but achieves these four ends — fertile ground, fruitful ground, seed, and bread (Is 55:11).
God's word will upgrade the soil of our hearts. Hardened footpaths or rocky ground (Mt 13:5) can be transformed into rich, fertile, and fruitful ground. In our times, this is the most practical effect of God's word. For a small minority of American Christians, the word of God is falling on open hearts, seeding and feeding our lives. But most Christians have hardened their hearts through sinful lives of selfishness and materialism (Ps 95:8). We need God's word to be used like salt thrown on icy blacktop. We need to create potholes in our hardened hearts and change rocks into soil.
One of the most practical and important Bible verses for American Christians with a hardened-heart condition is: "Thus have You prepared the land: drenching its furrows, breaking up its clods, softening it with showers" (Ps 65:11).