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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The purpose of the hammer - Part III

29My words are a powerful fire; they are a hammer that shatters rocks.
(Jeremiah 23:29)

Our third example of the use of a hammer is in the construction process - it is used to build something - to fasten that which it hits.  It is the combining of the various parts, (nail, wood, or another object), that the position of strength and usefulness takes form.  For example, wood in a pile has not much use until it is combined with a few nails.  The work of the hammer is to drive the nail into the wood, joining it and giving it form.  Soon, that wood takes on a sense of usefulness to the one who is doing the building.

There is a strength that comes in joining the wood.  When God brings pieces of our lives into alignment and then firmly "fixes" them to his foundation of love and grace, our lives take on a strength that they were missing before.  Without that "ordering" of the parts (body, soul, spirit, emotions, mind, etc), we are nothing more than a whole lot of parts!  Once we are firmly "fixed" to a foundation, we take on our true "form" and we have a new-found strength.

One piece of wood on a foundation is just that - it might be standing strong and be nice to look at, but it does not have the same usefulness or strength as when it is combined with a whole lot of other pieces of wood.  When that combining of parts occurs, we see a wall take form, and then another, until the "project" becomes "consistent" with the image the builder has in mind.  The "finished product" is recognizable as a house!  The first piece of wood fixed firmly to the foundation was not.

We often want to rush the "building" process in our lives, but when we do this, we sometimes lack the "integrity" that God is working to build into us.  The work of "constructing" our character comes as a direct result of the hammer of his Word being in continual contact with the various parts of our lives, firmly "fixing" us to his foundation.  His Word is the base upon which we are built and it is that which provides the "securing" of our parts together.  It is through the skilled use of the Word that we are made into the ever enlarging "recognizable" product that reflects his image.

The hammer fastens what it hits - the Word is the only thing that can make us fast and secure.  It gives us a firm "grip" or "hold".  Stand a piece of wood up next to another and they may stand there for a while.  When the elements begin to affect them, they may dry out and begin to warp.  If the wood is joined to another piece, the elements have less chance of affecting them - because they are firmly fastened.  God is always working to fasten our various elements of body, soul, emotions, etc., to that which gives us strength to withstand the pressures of life.

As we are enlarged, we take on the image of usefulness.  When a house is finally built, it is intended to be inhabited fully.  That is God's ultimate goal - to inhabit us fully.