The Bible Its Symbols – Hammer and Fire

Jer 23:29 Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?

You will need to open your bibles to Jeremiah chapter 23 and follow along.

In past weeks we have seen that the Word of God is like light unto our path (to see where we are and which path to go on), a mirror (to see ourselves as we really are), a laver (to clean ourselves), spiritual food (so we can be strong for the Lord), and fire to inflame the passions (to carry out the work of the Lord).

Today we will look at how the Bible is as a fire (a different kind of fire than last week) and like a hammer. Like so many things in the Word of God, this cannot be properly understood without some context.
So we will start in verse 13.

Jer 23:13 And I have seen folly in the prophets of Samaria; they prophesied in Baal, and caused my people Israel to err.
Jer 23:14 I have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem an horrible thing: they commit adultery, and walk in lies: they strengthen also the hands of evildoers, that none doth return from his wickedness: they are all of them unto me as Sodom, and the inhabitants thereof as Gomorrah.

The false prophets in Jerusalem were horrible. Not my words, God said it. They were living in sin. Commiting adultery, walking in lies, and get this, actually strengthening the hands of evildoers.

Jer 23:16 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD.

God says do not listen to the words of those false teachers. They are teaching of their own heart and not what God says. What they say is not of the Lord.

Jer 23:22 But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings.

God says that preaching His Word has a different affect upon people. His Word causes people to turn from their evil way and evil doings. The preaching of the false prophets strengthens the hands of evil doers and that kind of preaching does not get people to turn from wickedness.
God is setting up a contrast between the words of the false prophets and His Words. The Lord’s Words brings doing good, turning from evil. Their words do the opposite.
God now states that He is all present and all knowing. He sees what they do.

Jer 23:23 Am I a God at hand, saith the LORD, and not a God afar off?
Jer 23:24 Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD.
Jer 23:25 I have heard what the prophets said, that prophesy lies in my name, saying, I have dreamed, I have dreamed.

God seen every lie that they told and every false dream that they preached. And by the way today God still sees every lie told by every health and wealth false teacher.
He knows what they say and He knows their wicked heart that is behind it.

Jer 23:26 How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets that prophesy lies? yea, they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart;
Jer 23:27 Which think to cause my people to forget my name by their dreams which they tell every man to his neighbour, as their fathers have forgotten my name for Baal.

Their false teaching had caused many to forget God’s name and went after Baal. Sad. God is not happy with them, and tells people do not listen to them.
And God encourages those who do have His truth to tell it.

Jer 23:28 The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the LORD.

Do not let the overwhelming number of false teachers stop you. He that hath my Word, let him speak my word faithfully. God is against the teaching of lies, and that is compared to God encouraging those that have the truth to speak it faithfully. You need to see that God is setting up a contrast, a comparison throughout this section of scripture. If you see that you will understand the end of verse 28.

After encouraging those with truth to speak it He says, What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the LORD. The comparison continues. The chaff is what the false teachers say. The wheat is what those that have His Word say.
Chaff is of no value. The wheat is what feeds. The wheat is what is kept at harvest. The chaff is blown away. In the end, the chaff produces nothing good. But the wheat produces. The wheat sustains life. When you harvest it is all about the wheat. That is where the value is.  So be wheat. Speak the Word of God faithfully.

The context of verse 29 is about comparing the chaff of the false teachers with the wheat of God’s Word.

Jer 23:29 Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?

How do you know what is false teaching and what is faithfully speaking God’s truth? How do you know when you listen to someone or read something, how do you know if it is false?  You take what you hear and hold it up to God’s Word. His Word is like as a fire that will burn away their falsehoods. His Word is as a fire that will burn away the cloke their error is hiding behind. It will burn away the chaff.

And His Word is like a hammer. It will break their lies apart. It is a hammer that will destroy their false teaching it will break it apart.  Look at verse 30. The context continues. Verse 30 says therefore.

Therefore, because I am against the false prophets, because my word is like a fire and a hammer.

Jer 23:30 Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that steal my words every one from his neighbour.
Jer 23:31 Behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that use their tongues, and say, He saith.

The Word being like a Hammer is surrounded by the context of false teaching. You want to hammer away at false teaching. Then you need to use God’s Word to do it.  Anything clever you think to say does not have any power to break thru that false teaching. His Word is like a fire that burns thru lies and a hammer that breaks apart falsehoods.

I have heard and seen verse 29 misused many times.  They will say God’s word is as a hammer and then beat His precious children with it.  Trying to force something and hammer something in.  That is not what verse 29 is talking about.  When looking at the context it is very clear that the illustration of the Word being a hammer has to do with false teaching and breaking that false teaching apart.

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