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Sunday, September 18, 2016
Hammer of the Lord – 17 September 2016, Anno Domini
19 And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh (Ezek 11:19)
29 Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces? 30 Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that steal my words every one from his neighbour. 31 Behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that use their tongues, and say, He saith. 32 Behold, I am against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the LORD, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the LORD. (Jer 23:29-32)
A hammer is a most useful tool in the hand of the Master Carpenter. It can be used to force objects into tight places, to break objects in pieces, to fix the position of a board by driving a nail through it, and even as a weapon. No carpenter’s pouch would be complete without that most important tool.
Jesus was a Carpenter by trade – trained to be so by Joseph who was likewise a carpenter. A carpenter sizes up the materials at hand, considers his resources necessary for construction, and then sets out to build whatever object he intends. Jesus was far more than a Carpenter of chairs, tables, and dwellings – He was a Carpenter who dealt in the matter of building lives and souls.
Jesus, no doubt, used an iron hammer many times; but He also uses a spiritual Hammer in His role as Savior and Redeemer in molding the lives of His people. That Hammer is also used to enforce judgment against peoples and nations whose wickedness is full to the brim in the eyes of the Lord. 22 A sound of battle is in the land, and of great destruction. 23 How is the hammer of the whole earth cut asunder and broken! how is Babylon become a desolation among the nations! (Jer 50:22-23) Every other hammer crumbles and breaks before that Hammer of the Lord. Though nations that honor God are blessed thereby, conversely, those who devise wickedness are cursed.
The watered-down Gospel of the modern church, corrupted further by phony Bible translations, trips lightly over the Judgment of God and propagates a false gospel that God will receive, in the end, all people regardless of their unrepented sins. This has created a false sense of security and a prideful attitude toward self.
That old saying that claims “We are all God’s Children” is as ridiculous as it is deceitful. We all are SOMEONE’S children, but we certainly are not all God’s children! Do you believe that a child of God would behead innocent little girls after raping them as is happening today in Syria and Iraq? You may even say, “Of course not, but God knows that we are weak and He will therefore overlook our small sins.” Sorry, that is wrong, too. God will not forgive any sin that has not been covered by the redeeming Blood of His only Begotten Son. We are all children of our father the devil (our natural father of our choosing) or the children of our Father in Heaven. There are no spiritual orphans! We all belong to one family, or the other.
Precisely what IS the Hammer of the Lord? What is its purpose, and by whose authority is it exercised? To begin with, man has no authority at all in matters of spiritual truth. We have no authority to commit a soul to condemnation for we only judge by outward appearance, and there is One who judges by both outward appearance and inward faith. Neither do we have the authority to judge, but One has authority to judge all things and to bring all things into judgment. “14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” Eccl 12:14 (KJV) I can hear the modern apostates crying in elation at my last comment: “See, we TOLD you we cannot judge others! See, we cannot call those who practice egregious sins such as abortion, homosexuality, etc. SINNERS! We are forbidden by the Word!” How shallow can they be! If we say that men who practice such evils are sinners, that is not our own judgment – we are simply pronouncing the judgment of the Word of God on those sinners. It is God’s Word that judges – not US!
The gross error in understanding of Judge not lest ye be judged is taken out of context; consider a metaphor of sin to be the mote we see in our friend’s eye. But let us be aware as well of the beam of wood (greater sin) in our own eye. Are we incapable of rendering God’s judgment on the mote (small in) of our friend? Not if we apply the full context of what Jesus is saying to us. 1 Judge not, that ye be not judged. 2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. 3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? 4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? 5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye. (Matt 7:1-5) Any reader with an elementary level of literary analyses will see that Christ is not forbidding us to call what God has called sin to be sin. If we are going to apply God’s judgment to the sins of others, we had better have cleaned up our own act first, and then preach righteousness (and IN righteousness) to the sinner.
In what ways is a hammer compared to the Word of God?
1 A hammer is used to break things to pieces such as rocks and clay. 9 Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel. (Psalm 2:8-9) The Hammer of the Lord is perfectly fitted to break in pieces the heart of man who repents and turns unto Him. 16 For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. (Psalm 51:16-17) Our sinful (free) wills are surrendered to Him for His own Will for our lives.
2 The Word of God may be memorized in full by a man who has not the slightest idea of its meaning or its Author. Neither is a hammer of use in the hands of an idiot, or a small child. A hammer can do nothing of its own accord, and neither can we. God’s Word, shared by faithful believers and dedicated ministers, can accomplish that for which the Lord sent it. But the Hammer of the Lord is a useless tool to those who cannot fathom its use or purpose.
3 A well-skilled carpenter, under supervision of the Holy Ghost, can accomplish wonderful works with the Hammer of the Lord. He can build palaces in the desolate places, and comforts in the desert. The wise worker will use the hammer as a tool of how it is intended for use. He will use it wisely and with dedication. He will not use the Hammer to browbeat an unbeliever whose eyes are blind to the beauty of God’s Word, but as a means to build a bridge from that ignorance to greater and greater understanding.
4 A hammer is used to drive nails into boards to fix them in a certain place from which they cannot move even under stress. God’s Word likewise fixes the place of the believer on the side of truth from which he will not waver, move, or compromise. We need a strong Hammer in our day to repair the breaches in truth created by loose nails of doctrine and licentious living.
The Hammer of the Lord is used to build beautiful, spiritual structures in the heart and soul of believers; but it is also used to bear judgment against those who act with malice and wickedness, especially against the people of God. We may not see that use with the dispatch that we would desire, but God is just and perfect in all His ways (including timing).
I have witnessed the judgment of God in severe relief against those calloused and uncaring wicked men who hurt the weak and innocent. It has even caused me to be very careful in praying for God’s judgment to be brought against them for it almost always exceeds, in severity, what measures I would hope to see. God does not play games with the recalcitrant sinner. He may be slow to anger, but once that anger of the Lord has reached the tipping point, back away and watch the destruction that ensues.
I realize there are some strong points mentioned in this devotion, but the warnings of God are intended to spare the believer and ruin the wicked. We live in a day unlike any other in the history of our nation. The gates of our cities are thrown open to invasion of religions and beliefs that are foreign and categorically opposed to our Christian faith. This threat comes from without, but there is even a greater threat that emerges from within – a reckless regard for the Holy things of God. A false security rules in the hearts of our leaders that the Ancient Landmark that has served as the pillar and post of our Republic is unnecessary and, therefore, must be ignored and rejected. The greater danger from within allows the enemy to own our gates and despoil our institutions.
We need not point out to the wise and informed that God will not forever withhold His hand of judgment from a nation who turns her back on the God who provided the guiding light of her founding. The judgment against those who have known the truth and blessing of God is always far more severe than toward those who never heard the Gospel preached at all. Those words spoken more than two and half centuries ago as a warning bear stronger notice today:
These are the times that try men’s souls………
Thomas Paine, 1776