Monday, June 27, 2011

The purpose of the hammer - Part II

29 “Is not my word like fire,” declares the LORD, “and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?"
(Jeremiah 23:29)

Today, we will explore the second purpose for the hammer.  According to Webster, a hammer strikes blows so as to pound.  It also shapes that which it hits.  It is that shaping process that we will explore today.  God's word is a tool used to "shape" us - it is designed to "adapt" us to the character traits that most closely resemble those of Christ's.

The shaping process of the hammer often brings that which is being shaped into close contact with that object that is creating the shape.  As the object being shaped is placed on top of that which acts as a backdrop to all the shaping process, the hammer comes down on the on the object, conforming it to the image of that which it rests upon.  We might say that the process is one of modifying the object to take on the form of that which it is being molded against.

If we are close enough to Jesus in the shaping process, the image of Jesus will begin to take form within us!  When God uses his Word to shape us, it is always aimed at us taking on a mature form - a character that is "modified" so that it displays that which it has been in contact with!  The sculptor works with metal, shaping it until it takes on the form he desires to see.  The same is true with the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

We are in the process of transitioning from one shape into another - until the finished work of art is ready (the object reflects that which it has been in contact with!).  At first, the sculptor sees only metal that is gouged and pocked with evidence of the hammer having repeatedly striking it.  As time passes, the appearance of the metal changes - as it is being stretched by the hammer and that which it rests upon, it takes on a "shine" and is stretched to a new capacity.

We want to resist both the hammer and the continued contact with the "anvil" of his Word.  Why?  Simply because the Word of God is stretching us in ways we did not know we needed to be stretched.  It is molding our character - and that process is sometimes painful.  The process is repeated until that which is absolutely perfect is produced.  As a metal worker pounds the metal, shaping it gradually by the continued pounding, then plunges it into water to cool it down a little - it is hardened to a new strength it did not possess before.

We may resist the pounding of the hammer of his Word - but when we are plunged into the refreshing of is Word - we become stronger!  We take on a new strength.  That strength would not be possible without the strike of the hammer!  The resilience of character produced by the striking of the Word over and over again is a direct result of the image Christ has of us in his mind - he is the sculptor, forming that which will bring him enjoyment and glory.  Don't resist the strike of the hammer - the closeness of the Word.