Recently a video clip went viral showing how in India idols were being bulldozed into a river. The person narrating explained that this was because the idols did not hear the pleas for healing when loved ones were dying of COVID-19. It sounded so plausible and believable … even something to rejoice over that at last this largely Hindu nation with its more than a millions gods had come to their senses and are discarding their deaf, blind, dumb and powerless idol gods.
Today a good friend forward an explanation of what was happening from a Christian Missionary, working in India. He said the throwing out of idols happens regularly after festivals and the government uses bulldozers to push them into the river to get rid of them. He said that the narration over the video clip was fake news. Someone used the clip and narrated whatever he wanted to say. The source seems to be Islam, trying to interest people of a Hindu background to consider Islam as an alternative religion.
As believers and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, we may not dish out false or fake news. We may not get into propaganda that is not true. If we are to be people of the Word (and we are called to be so), there is no room for sinful false news, even when it is directed against the enemies of the Cross. The Word of God (The Bible) is Truth and we have to be people of the Truth.
What does it mean to be people of the Word of God? This question is as complexed and the answer … but in brief it means that you believe God’s Word to be inspired by Him and that in the original parchments it is inerrant and authoritative. Followers of Jesus accept and receive God’s Word as their instruction for doing life God’s way because believers know the Word of God says of itself that it is a fire and a hammer. In Jeremiah 23 the prophet is dealing with true prophets speaking God’s Word and false prophets speaking their own words. He uses the analogy of wheat and weeds growing together. When reaping you separate the weeds from the wheat. The one you burn and the other you use. The one is good for food, yet the other is useless. Should you mix the two the good is spoilt and the substance cannot be used. Verse 29 gives light and understanding to what the prophet says. Weeds are burnt in the fire and wheat are crushed with a type of hammer. The false prophet seeks only to flatter his hearers … in this case with peace when the true prophet of God brought a message of punishment. Yet, the Word of God as fire or hammer may be used both positively and negatively.
1) God’s Word is like fire.
Jer 23:29 “Is not my word like fire” declares the LORD?
God’s Word in the heart of the prophet burns … so much so that he cannot keep it in. He needs to let it out, make it known. He has no choice. You see, this Word which is like fire … consumes evil; melts away all pretense and destroyed God’s enemies. What God says comes to pass. Today 2,600 odd years later, we can testify that what God says He does … and when He does … for His enemies it is devastating, final and … the Lake of Fire.
Rev 20:14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. 15 If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
Yet the Word as fire for the people of God is protection because it has purifying results when followed and obeyed. It burns away the sin causing a passion for truth to be lived out.
2) God’s Word is like a hammer.
Jer 23:29b “Is not my word like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?”
Once the Word of God is out of the prophet or preacher’s mouth, it breaks rocks like a hammer.
Yesterday and today I repaired a serious water leak under our front lawn and paving. I dug up a section of lawn and under it was a slab of concrete about 15cm by 15cm along the paving as a retaining wall. I needed to use a hammer and chisel to break up the concrete and remove a meter in length. It was hard work but to get to the leaking water pipe, the concrete needed to be broken up and removed. To get to the heart of the matter within the person, the Word of God needs to be a hammer breaking away the barrier walls of sin and rebellion and shuttering pride, stubbornness and arrogance. As I broke away the concrete, so the Word breaks away opposition to God, one blow at a time. It can be painful, uncomfortable and even humiliating … and often we can be unyielding and stubborn. Yet the Word hammers away … at times softly and at other times relentlessly as it is divinely supported. Be it the sinner or the saint, each blow becomes more intense until the recipient feels the weight of the Word of God on the soul.
We will be considering more about how the Word of God speaks of itself for another day or two, but may I inquire my friend … have you been experiencing the Word of God as a fire and a hammer? As a fire, does it burn into your soul with convicting power? Does this fire melt your conscience? Is your will being tried and tested by this divine fire? The blows of the Word as a hammer, does its heavy force break down your resistance to conform to God’s holy way? Perhaps it’s time to get more serious about the Word of God as you read it and as you listen to it proclaimed? It changes people who want to be changed by it!
Dear God, help my hard heart to willingly come under the power of Your Word as it functions as fire and a hammer. Burn away all resistance to change … hammer away at my stubborn heart. Lord, change me daily. Amen.