Lot of hammers at work! We recently moved into a new home in an area that is still being developed. Big jackhammers break up boulders and smash rocks preparing the ground for new construction. Smaller hammers rhythmically bang nails into lumber erecting new structures. Hammers are powerful tools in the hands of craftsmen.
While listening to these physical hammers, the Lord has been showing me that He provides us with a spiritual hammer. It is known at the Bible – God’s word. It, too, is a powerful tool.
Jeremiah 23:29 says, “Is not My word like fire,” declares the LORD, “and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?”
Matthew Henry’s Commentary explains this verse by saying that the unhumbled heart of man is like a rock. If the heart is not melted by the word of God as a fire, it will be broken to pieces by God’s word as a hammer.
Ellicott’s Commentary says, “As the hammer breaks the rock, so it (God’s word) shatters the pride and stubbornness of man. It is mighty to the pulling down of strongholds, and the heart of him who hears it as it should be heard is broken and contrite.”
Stubbornness is denoted as a cause of hardened hearts in scripture. Jeremiah 16:12 says, “But you have behaved more wickedly than your ancestors. See how all of you are following the stubbornness of your evil hearts instead of obeying me.” Romans 2:5 says, “But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when His righteous judgment will be revealed.”
Ignorance is also associated with hardened hearts. Ephesians 4:18 says, “They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.”
We do not have to endure hardened stony hearts forever! Barnes Notes on the Bible says that like a hammer, God’s word rouses and strengthens the conscience and crushes everything evil within our hearts. The Lord promises in Ezekiel 36:26, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
The Message translation of Deuteronomy 30:6 says, “God, your God, will cut away the thick calluses on your heart and your children’s hearts, freeing you to love God, your God, with your whole heart and soul and live, really live.”
As our spiritual hammer, God’s word is not only a tool – it is also a weapon. II Corinthians 10:4 NLT states, “We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to break down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments.” In Ephesians 6:17, God’s word is described as the sword of the Spirit. Both the spiritual sword and a hammer are weapons describing God’s word.
Let’s use the following scriptures as hammers to break up our stony hearts.
For the stone of fear, apply the hammer of Isaiah 41:10. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.
For the stone of unbelief, use the hammer found in Mark 9:23-24. Jesus has a conversation with a man whose son was demon possessed. And Jesus said to him, “‘If You can?’ All things are possible to him who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father cried out and said, “I do believe; help my unbelief.”
For the stone of anger, the hammer of Ephesians 4:26 is appropriate. “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,
For the stone of unforgiveness, use the hammer Jesus gave His disciples when teaching them how to pray. Matthew 6:12 NLT, says, “and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.”
God’s word is a hammer that strikes with spiritual force. Just as a jackhammer has the force to break rocks and boulders, God’s word has the spiritual power to break hardened hearts. The soil of our souls is often littered with sinful stones. I encourage you to search your heart for any rocky remnants and pulverize them with the hammer of God’s word.
Activate your jackhammer in the name of Jesus! Ephesians 3:20 says, “(the Lord) is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us.” Apply the power of the Holy Spirit to the hammer of God’s word and see the hardness in your heart be smashed in ways you cannot imagine! The Lord promises in Ezekiel 11:19-20, “I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them. And I will take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances and do them. Then they will be My people, and I shall be their God.”