“Is not my word like fire,” declares the LORD, “and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?”
Power of the Word of God
As a child, the only concept I had of dynamite was from Saturday morning cartoons. But many years earlier my great-grandfather had a reputation for his expertise with the explosive material. He was often hired by fellow farmers to blast tree stumps and boulders from their fields. Cartoon coyotes are not the only ones to learn the hard way of TNT’s destructive power. But through precaution and precision, my great-grandfather was able to use that force to clear farmland so that more crops could be harvested for years to come.
In today’s Bible verse, God tells us that his word has a similar power and purpose. Listen to what he said at the installation of his prophet Jeremiah: “I have put my words in your mouth. See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.” Most of Jeremiah’s message was a preaching of the law, condemning the nation of Israel for turning away from the Lord. He could not spare their feelings or sensibilities. They needed the powerful blasting of the law to bring them to understand and admit the seriousness of their sin. Only then would the prophet be able to build them up again—with God’s promises of a Messiah who would take their sins away forever.
God comes to you today with his fire and hammer, carefully positioned to blast away at your stony heart. For you too have sinned against God. You have failed to show perfect love to him and your neighbor. You have allowed selfishness and sinful desires to dominate too much of your thinking, acting, and speaking. For this and more, you (and everyone on earth!) deserve to be separated from God forever in the punishment of hell.
Oh, but God still loves you! He let the hammer of the law drive the nails into his Son’s hands. Jesus was crucified for your sin, and your debt has been paid in full. God now offers you a new and meaningful life. Through the Word of Christ, he promises to turn your repentant heart into fruitful soil.
Father, break down my stubborn heart so there is room there for you. Amen.