Daily Devotional

The Blacksmith's Hand

by Simon Whitton

1 Listen to me, you islands; hear this, you distant nations: Before I was born the LORD called me; from my birth he has made mention of my name.
2 He made my mouth like a sharpened sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me into a polished arrow and concealed me in his quiver.
3 He said to me, "You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will display my splendor."

Isaiah 49:1-3 (NIV)

A rod of iron is held in the fiery coals of the forge, heated until red hot and malleable, then violently hammered. The noise rings out and sparks fly as the blacksmith shapes the metal.  Suddenly, with the perfect timing of a master artisan, the iron is plunged into icy cold water, held there bubbling and steam hissing. Again and again this process is repeated.  This is how a weapon is shaped and hardened.

This is how the Lord shapes us for His purposes.  He uses the heat of the coals, the hammer to pound us against the anvil, the freezing water up to our necks, the abrasive to polish us.  These are the hardships, the sudden calamities, the failures, the poor health, the constant wearing of rough circumstances, the harsh people and the accusations that come against us.  Each difficulty has a purpose and is carefully measured with precision and timing by the Lord Himself.

He values the rod of iron; it was individually chosen and bought at a price.  He will not allow it to end up on the scrap heap.  Instead, He turns it into something far more valuable.  He has something specific in mind, a tool, an instrument or a weapon with usefulness and purpose; and it will be an exquisite work of art, adorned with precious stones, fit for a King's hand.

He is working beauty and purpose into our souls, because much of what He is fashioning in our lives is for eternity.  There the 'heritage of the servants of the Lord' will be revealed, and we will fully see what the master craftsman has made.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV

We cannot yet see what the Lord has done in our hearts; but while in the smithy's workshop, we can hold onto faith.  You are firmly held by the mighty hand of the blacksmith.  He knows exactly what He's doing; He knows your composition and precisely what is needed.  His workshop is not a place of destruction, but a place of craftsmanship.  Yield to His working in your life.  Don't rigidly resist, but be softened by the furnace and submit to the master's hammer.

Spend some time in prayer and acknowledge the events in your life are from the hand of the Lord.  Thank Him that He has called you by name for a purpose, and is skillfully shaping you into something that will display His splendor.  Pray for someone you know who is under the blacksmith's hammer right now.

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