In the Blacksmith’s Workshop
‘Is not my word like fire’, declares the LORD, ‘and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?’ (Jeremiah 23:29)
A blacksmith needs just three pieces of equipment to do his work: a fire to heat the metal, a hammer to beat the metal, and an anvil upon which to shape the metal. As Isaiah put it, ‘The blacksmith takes a tool and works with it in the coals; he shapes an idol with hammers, he forges it with the might of his arm’ (Isaiah 44:12). With these simple tools, he can make anything. And this, the Bible says, is what God’s word is like.
First, the Bible is like fire because it reveals what God is like in all his holiness. But having revealed that holiness, it then points us to the one who can burn up all that is unholy in our life, refining us like precious metal and making us ready to be shaped into ‘an instrument an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master’ (2 Timothy 2:21). Second, the Bible is like a hammer. There are times when God woos our hearts gently; but there are also times when our hearts become so hard that only a hammer can crack them open. God’s word, Jeremiah says, is such a hammer. It breaks open rock-like hearts so that his life can burst in. Third, the Bible is like the anvil, where the metal is smoothed and shaped. This is what Isaiah saw when he said, ‘The craftsman encourages the goldsmith, and he who smooths with the hammer spurs on him who strikes the anvil’ (Isaiah 41:7).
This is what God has promised his word can do in our lives. It can soften our heart in its fire, purge our impurities, break up our hardness and shape us into something useful for God. Little wonder the devil tries so hard to keep us from it!
If God has been bringing down his hammer on your life, if you have felt as if you have been in the fire or on the anvil, don’t resist the work of God’s word, but yield to it. Submit your life today to the work of the word of God. It will do you good, just as he promised.
‘The word of God, which is at work in you who believe.’ (1 Thessalonians 2:13)
Copyright © 2017 Martin Manser and Mike Beaumont