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Hammered?

Do you have those days where the 'pounding' you took just leaves you feeling a little defeated and like you just cannot go on any further? I think we all do, but did you realize there might just be a little benefit from being 'pounded' a little? A hammer has a job to do - it is to pound! It could just be your day had a job to do - to bring about a change within you that was absolutely necessary and required the use of some 'strategies' designed to change you!

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, don't be surprised if we explore those and see just how they make an impact our lives. The first use of a hammer is to strike a blow, or repeated blows, so as to pound an object. My Dad would give me some nails and a hammer with a piece of scrap wood - not because he didn't like the scrap wood, or he didn't appreciate the straightness of those nails. He wanted me to learn the proper use of the hammer and to avoid driving the nails in crooked, or worse yet, bending them so they couldn't do their job. I'd start out well, "pounding" them for a while, but with very 'timid' taps on the heads of those nails.

Those 'timid taps' didn't do much to drive the nails into the wood. They advanced them a little, but basically never got them very deeply into the wood. Dad would have to remind me to not choke up so much on the hammer handle, and then take bigger swings, all while keeping my tender fingers clear of that impending impact. The bigger the swing, the deeper the nail was driven. It took me a bit to actually make consistent contact with the nail's head, though. The swings would leave dings in the wood from the impact of the hammer's head. In time, I got more accurate with those swings and the nails went in like butter.

When something is "pounded" it is reduced might be 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. The nails were "reduced" into the wood. The stone is "reduced" into gravel and then into dust if the blows continue. 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! Yet, that hammer was absolutely no good for wood and nails. It was too "over-weighted" for the job. The nails couldn't stand the impact and would bend right away. Instead of penetrating the wood, they'd bend away and be wasted.

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 mold-able - it could take on a new form! The more I applied the hammer to it, the more it took on new form, and then that new form could be molded into something even more beautiful. 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.

Sometimes God uses his Word to make us into a "new form" and at other times he needs to use it to drive home something that needs to become more deeply set into our lives. God is all about turning what has had one purpose in our lives into something with a fresh and vital purpose. He is also as concerned for us to 'take in' what is being worked in. The blows may be repeated - feeling like we are taking a pounding from time to time - but they are calculated blows with a specific purpose behind each one.  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! Just sayin!

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