Centuries ago, a soldier’s sword was his greatest weapon and bladesmiths had the responsibility of forging the strongest blade possible. In sword making, the metal is heated until it glows red-hot, then pounded with a large hammer into a sword shape, and lastly quenched in cool water. This intensive forging process is repeated many times until the sword is perfect. In many ways, the Bible is like a bladesmith, rigorously shaping and molding us into children of God.
God asserts, “Is not my word like fire, declares the Lord, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?” (Jeremiah 23:29) To craft a sword, to make the metal shapeable, it first must be broken down – this is done by heating it to 2500 degrees Fahrenheit. Likewise, God’s Word breaks down our own righteousness, convicting us that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) As we open the Word of God, we find fires and hammers such as: “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.” (James 2:10); “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (1 John 1:15); “And Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.’” (Luke 18:19) Do we subject ourselves to the hard Biblical truths that weaken our pride? Or do we skip over those parts?
We don’t like the idea of being weak, but the Lord told Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) Again, in 1 Corinthians 1:27, Paul says, “God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong.” For the bladesmith, it’s only when the metal is weakened that it can be formed into something functional and beautiful. It’s the same with God; we must be weakened to be strengthened by God. “But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.” (Isaiah 64:8)
It’s true the Bible can hurt our pride, but that’s far from God’s ultimate purpose. “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you…” (1 Peter 5:6) When we’re humbled by a passage of Scripture, when we know we can’t save ourselves, that’s when our Savior shapes us. “For the Lord takes pleasure in his people; he adorns the humble with salvation.” (Psalm 149:4) Crafting a raw useless piece of metal into a sword capable of winning a battle is hard work; sparks will fly as the hammer pounds. Yet, the sparks and the pounding are not wasted, but they “equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ…” (Hebrews 13:21)