For Young People: The Bible- A Hammer

by A. R. Wright

The hammer is a tool which is found in practically every home. It is probably the most ancient of all tools, being originally a stone held in the hand. It is most useful and is a fitting emblem of industry. You are no doubt familiar with the fact that the hammer appears on the Russian flag.[1] Were that the time were here when that hammer was replaced by the hammer of the Word!  Russia needs the Bible. Many things have been likened to a hammer in history. Sometimes a nation is called the hammer. In Jeremiah 50:23, Babylon is spoken of as the “hammer of the whole earth”, but a hammer to be broken by another. Sometimes a strong man is regarded as a hammer.

In the second century B.C., there lived a famous Jewish soldier called Judas. He gained many victories over the Jews’ enemies. He was known as Judas Maccabaeus, that is, Judas the hammer. Another great soldier was Charles Martel. As a leader of the Franks, he defeated the Moors at Tours in A.D. 732. It was a victory of the Cross over the Crescent, of Christianity over Mohammedanism, and Charles Martel, the victor, was known as the hammer of God. Still another great soldier was King Edward I of England. His great ambition was to subdue the Scottish nation and annex it to his own dominions. He was called “The Hammer of the Scots.” And then, last but not least, the Bible is likened to a hammer. In Jeremiah 23:29, we find God saying, “Is not my word like a hammer?” The Bible is:

 A Hammer Which Breaks

The stone hammer does this, and it is the stone hammer to which reference is made in Jeremiah 23, “Is not my word… like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?” (v. 29) Not so long ago a common sight along the roads was a man wearing a peculiar pair of glasses and wielding a hammer. His job was to break up large pieces of stone into small pieces suitable for mending the roads. Nowadays this work is usually done by machinery. You may have heard of the famous steam hammer invented in 1842 by James Nasmith.[2] It is used in mining and manufacturing operations and can be so adjusted as to crush the largest mass of rock or crack the smallest nut.

The Bible is a hammer which breaks. It is a powerful hammer wielded by almighty God Himself. It breaks hard hearts, in the sense of softening them. The sinners’ heart is hard and stony, but God can break it through the hammer of the Word. With this powerful weapon He can violently crush the rocky heart of a Philippian jailer, and gently break the listening heart of a Lydia. (Acts 16) “A broken and contrite heart he will not despise.” (Psalm 51:17) Then this hammer also breaks bad institutions, in the sense of destroying them. It has broken up slavery in the British Empire, it has overthrown many systems of cruelty and idolatry in heathen lands, and today its destructive influence is still needed. It is needed in regard to alcoholism, in regard to betting and gambling, and in regard to Romanism. Sir David Lindsay, tutor of James V of Scotland, and one who did much to prepare for the Protestant Reformation, is represented in an old picture as breaking the keys of Rome with a hammer. Martin Luther, who died 400[3] years ago, was known as the monk that shook the world, and he shook it with the hammer of God’s Word. With that hammer he broke up much of the error and superstition of the Church of Rome. Today it needs to be applied once more. 

 A Hammer Which Drives

The ordinary Hammer drives things. It drives nails into wood, for example. Perhaps you have read the old lines:

Drive the nail aright boys, hit it on the head.

And perhaps in trying to obey you have hit the wrong nail![4] And just as the ordinary hammer, which properly wielded drives the nail into the wood, so the hammer of God’s Word, when used by the Holy Spirit, drives the truth into the heart and mind. As we read the Bible, or listen to the Word being preached, its great truths regarding God, sin, salvation, and the future life, find a lodging place in our inward parts. They are as nails well fastened. (Ecclesiastes 12:11) And once we have received the truth ourselves we can assist in driving it into the minds of others. The Savior, when on earth, was constantly quoting Scripture for His purpose. “It is written…”, “Have you never read…?”

Last, the hammer not only drives in the good, it also drives out the bad. The hammer of God’s Word not only drives in the truth, it also drives out the error. “You do err, not knowing the scriptures.” (Matthew 22:29)

 A Hammer Which Joins

The ordinary hammer, as it drives in the nail, joins things together. The Bible hammer is a great joiner! F.W. Boreham, in one of his essays, tells us of a peculiar dream that he once had. In his dream he found himself in a strange and foreign city. Men and women of all nationalities jostled each other on the crowded pavement.[5] As he watched them his attention was suddenly arrested by the tapping of a hammer. Tick-tack…Tick-tack. Following the direction of the sound, he saw a carpenter at work under the shade of a spreading tree. “His face seemed strangely familiar, a face of exquisite nobleness and beauty.” In His hand He held a broken globe, the remaining fragments of which lay on the ground at His feet. On one of them could be seen the tail end of South America. On another a part of Africa. On a third some of the South Sea islands. Mr. Boreham asked the carpenter what He was doing and He replied with a look of infinite satisfaction and delight. “I am restoring the pieces that have broken off… I am riveting my world together.”

It was a strange dream, and yet Mr. Boreham in his journeys around the world saw it all coming true. He saw the British and the Foreign Bible Society issuing the Scriptures in nearly 600 languages. He saw the broken parts of the world being joined together by the Carpenter of Nazareth using the Hammer of the Word. And today this good work is still going on. The world that has been broken through sin is being repaired by Christ. Peoples of the world, who have been separated through sin, are being united to Christ and the hammer used is the Bible.

A Hammer Which Shapes

The Bible not only joins individuals to Christ, it also shapes them, moulds them, fashions them, so that gradually they become like Christ. With his hammer the blacksmith shapes the metal according to his will. With his hammer the stonemason shapes the stone for its place in the building. With his hammer the sculptor fashions the shapeless block of marble into a thing of beauty. And with the hammer of the Word God can fashion us, when united to Christ, into the Divine likeness.

[1] This refers to the flag of the former Soviet Union. The new Russian flag, with white, blue and red stripes, was adopted on December 11, 1993.

[2] Not to be confused with James Naismith, the inventor of basketball!

[3] Luther died on February 18, 1546.

[4] Your own fingernail!

[5] Sidewalk

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