Tuesday, April 25, 2017
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If it's about the Revolutionary War, I'll probably try to go there. My poor family has been dragged to more historical houses, battlefields, and Colonial restorations. Fortunately, we lived in the town where George Washington actually had his headquarters at one point during the War. So when they had a special militia re-enactment, we went to see it. But it was more than just muskets and bayonets. They had Colonial craftsmen there, too. Including the old blacksmith. He was there in the barn, next to his blazing fire. When I walked in, he was working on these big iron nails - which my wife thought would look nice as hooks and hangers on our mantle at home. They're still there. It was intriguing to watch the blacksmith do his work. Actually, he took a shapeless piece of iron, he heated it in that fire until it was red hot - and it was soft enough to shape - and then he hammered it into something that hunk of metal had never been before - something useful. I know. They're on our mantle, remember?
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Beautiful Fire."
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Isaiah 54:16. "See, it is I who created the blacksmith who fans coals into flame and forges a weapon fit for its work." God didn't just create the blacksmith; He is a blacksmith. At least, He has been in my life. He has put me through the fire at a number of points in my life so He could reshape me.
That may be what the Divine Blacksmith is doing in your life right now. That's why it's so hot. The stress, the pain, the demands, the pressure; they might be almost unbearable. And your soul might be crying out, "Why, God?" or "How much longer, God?"
Remember how the blacksmith works. He "fans the coals into flame." Why? So it - or you - can be shaped into "a weapon fit for its work." Here's how God works to make a child He loves more like Jesus and more of a "make a difference" person than they've ever been before. Make it hot...to make it soft...to make it useful. What the blacksmith does with a hunk of metal is what God does with lives like yours and mine. Make it hot to make it soft to make it useful.
Peter was writing to believers who had lost their homes and even their loved ones because of their loyalty to Christ. They were in the fire. And Peter says, "These (trials) have come so that your faith - of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire - may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed" (1 Peter 1:7). The fire is not to burn you or melt you. It's to remove what's impure, to deepen your trust in God because there is no one else who can get you through this. And it's to increase your value.
The heat makes our heart softer and more pliable, like hot metal. Without the heat, we wouldn't change; we'd be in the same shape. In 2 Corinthians 1, Paul talks about going through pressure that was beyond his ability to endure, and hardships that brought deep despair, and then his perspective on why the fire happened. He says, "This happened that we might not rely on ourselves, but on God, who raises the dead." Paul was a strong, stubborn, self-reliant man who would never surrender control, never learn to totally rely on God, if the fire hadn't made him soft enough to be reshaped.
I can't ask you to enjoy the fire you're going through. No, but I can encourage you to trust the Divine Blacksmith. He knows how much heat you can take. He knows the beautiful things He wants to do in you and through you, and that's what the fire's for. He's removing the ugly. He's recreating something beautiful.
The prayer in that old chorus says it pretty well, "Spirit of the Living God, fall fresh on me. Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me." He's making it hot to make you soft so He can make you more useful than you ever imagined you could be.