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Sunday, June 26, 2011

The purpose of the hammer - Part I

29 Does not my word burn like fire?” says the Lord.
   “Is it not like a mighty hammer that smashes a rock to pieces?"
(Jeremiah 23:29)

You know me well enough to realize that I would look up "hammer" in the dictionary.  In doing so, I discovered some meaningful uses (purposes) for the hammer.  Over the next couple of days, I will explore those with you and see just how they might impact our lives (no pun intended!).

The first use of a hammer is to strike a blow, or repeated blows, so as to pound an object.  As a young girl, Dad would give me some nails and a hammer with a piece of scrap wood.  I'd "pound" them for a while, but soon would have the hammer over in the dirt, pounding down dirt-clods, breaking up little stones, or just plane mashing stuff that was in sight.

When something is "pounded" it is reduced to powder - it no longer bears the image of what it had formerly been.  Being "reduced" seldom occurs on the first blow of the hammer - it requires repeated blows.  There are lots of forms of hammers, but one that I always liked the best was the sledge hammer.  It was about five pounds and took both hands for me to wield the thing...but the pounding yielded quicker results!

If I was fortunate enough to get my hands on a piece of scrap metal, I'd work on that for a while.  I was always intrigued by how a round piece of copper wire could be "mashed" into a long thread of thin, shiny copper.  The wire was malleable, but the pounded wire was moldable - it could take on a new form!

Sometimes God's Word is like a hammer in our souls - coming in repeated measures until what it was after no longer bears the image of what was formerly there!  God is persistent - he doesn't just use his Word once and then move on.  He uses it long enough, and frequently enough, that it begins to affect us deeply.  The goal is that we'd no longer bear the image of sin and compromise in our lives, but would be re-formed into the image of his son.

God's use of his Word is to make us into a "new form" - he is all about turning what has had one purpose in our lives into something with a fresh and vital purpose.  We'd do well to consider the frequency of the "blows" we receive from the Word and ask God what it is that he might be changing by those blows!