Thursday, July 16, 2020


"Is not My word like a fire?" says the LORD, "And like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces? (Jeremiah 23:29)

This verse is brought to life in my heart by my experience as a young man working for a construction company in my early twenties. The type of construction we did was that of installing various types of pipelines or systems for new subdivisions. We installed sanitary sewers, storm sewers, and water lines that would service the neighborhood as well as the homes themselves. We also put in the new roads along with gutters and catch basins. You can imagine how hard the work was every day.

The sanitary sewer system was always the very first thing we would begin to work on as we would arrive on the worksite. It was begun by digging down alongside of an existing manhole with a backhoe exposing the side of the manhole sometimes as deep as thirty feet. When this was accomplished, the foreman would draw a circle with chalk at the base of the manhole. This circle would be around twelve inches in diameter. He would then hand me a sixteen-pound sledgehammer. My instructions were clear. He needed a hole at the base of the manhole so that we could start the new pipeline coming from the existing manhole. The wall of the manhole itself was made of concrete about six to eight inches thick and reinforced with steel mesh.

This was not going to be easy! It was my job to make a hole in that concrete manhole. As the sledgehammer was handed to me, the rest of the crew would leave and do something else to prepare for the work being done that day. They might leave someone behind to watch and make sure I was safe.

Much like a baseball player standing in the batter’s box waiting for a pitch, I would position myself to begin swinging away at that concrete manhole. The first swing of that sixteen-pound sledgehammer seemingly did nothing. Nothing at all! It bounced off like the manhole itself had life and was saying, “you will not accomplish your goal”. The second swing was no different. Subsequent swings would produce the same result. It seemed futile and vain. Every swing needed to count for something, but it just did not seem like anything was being accomplished.

You soon realized why everyone left. They knew from experience this was going to take some time. It would do no good to be in a hurry because if you went fast and hard you would tire easily. A slow and steady pace with a solid and square hit in that circle was the only way to win this battle. Swing after swing, hit after hit, making each one count stopping only to wipe the sweat off your forehead and out of your eyes.

Then, suddenly something happens! Not that you could see but what you could hear with your ears. A different sound! When the sledgehammer hit the wall it just sounded different. No hole yet but with each swing the wall of the manhole was being weakened and you could hear it. Keep swinging and don’t get to excited you still have a long way to go, but with swing of that sledgehammer you are that much closer to your goal.

And then it happens! The head of the sledgehammer goes all the way through, and you keep swinging making the hole bigger chipping away at that circle cutting away the steel mesh with bolt cutters.
A feeling of pride and success comes over you and the crew members return to begin the work of installing that first pipe. The foreman may acknowledge your work and he may not, but you still feel good about yourself. You may even scratch your initials somewhere on that manhole for archaeologists to find.

God says in His Word in Jeremiah 23:29, "Is not My word like a fire?" says the LORD, "And like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?

God knows that His Word will accomplish what He sent it out for, and it will prosper!

"So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it." (Isaiah 55:11)

Sometimes we as His people are frustrated at the seemingly futile efforts to keep pounding away with the hammer of His Word. People all around us, friends and family, coworkers, even our whole culture do not seem to respond to His Word.

Keep swinging away at a good steady pace and His Word will accomplish His goal!

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