Thursday, June 30, 2011

The purpose of the hammer - Part V

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

The last two purposes of a hammer are not the traditional uses of a hammer as we might think of when we consider what a hammer might do.  Indeed, a small "hammer" is used to produce music when it either strikes a bell, or a piano string.  Those little hammers inside your old traditional alarm clocks would cause a clang loud enough to raise us from slumber.  The many hammers within the hidden parts of the piano would magically produce melodies that soothed our souls, or set our feet to tapping!

The tiny hammers within the alarm clock produce a sound strong enough to get us to a place that we are aware of our environment once again.  The Word of God is continually in the process of bringing a clear and resonant "sound" that helps to awaken us from our slumber and apathy.  As it produces the "sound" that awakens us, there is a "tuning in" of our senses to be responsive to our environment (much like what occurs when we are awakened by our alarm clock or the clanging of the fire alarm in an emergency).  Our senses are "set on alert" and we begin to process the environment in a fresh way.

The softer, fabric covered hammers within the piano may not look as though they can produce much, but their continual movement on the strings of the piano in response to the one tapping on the various keys of the keyboard produces a melody that warms the heart.  As much as a pianist might hope for a resonant and melodious "tone" to produced in the striking of the key and the resulting strike of the hammer, the "tone" is dependent on the tuning of the string it strikes.  Too tight, or too loose, and the music that is produced is neither melodious or harmonious.  In fact, we'd say it was "out of tune".

Those "out of tune" strings need to be brought into "tune" - the fine tuning of our character is often accomplished by the repeated striking of the hammer against the strings of our heart while the Lord is adjusting those "strings" until just the right tone is produced.  The repeated striking may "drive us nuts" while we have to see just how and where we are out of tune with God's best for our lives, but once the process is done, the sounding of those little hammers produces a much different result!

So, we have looked at how the hammer strikes repeated blows so as to pound and to reduce.  We have explored how it shapes what it hits - causing it to take on form and purpose beyond what it fulfilled previously.  The ability of the hammer to construct or build by fastening what it hits gives us hope that the constructing of our lives is in capable hands.  The igniting power of the hammer of God's Word is what propels us forward.  Last, but certainly not least, the "hammer" of God's Word is that which awakens us and produces sweetness in our inner man.  Hammer on, God!