2002-03-05 - Hammered on Their Anvil

Isaiah 41:6,7 "Each one helps his neighbor, and says to his brother, 'Be strong!' So the craftsman encourages the smelter and he who smoothes metal with the hammer encourages him who beats the anvil, saying of the soldering, 'It is good'; and he fastens it with nails."

An anvil is the block on which a blacksmith puts his metal after putting it in hot coals so that, with a hammer, he can shape and pound it into the object that he desires. In fact, it was often the case in Scotland in the late 18th century that a couple that wished to be married would simply go to the blacksmith, have him marry them, and then he could form their rings right on the spot.

As Isaiah says above, the task of working on an anvil was a noisy situation. Generally there would be one master blacksmith and several workman hammering. As they pounded away they would call out with each stroke, "Hazak! Hazak!" These words mean, "Be of good courage." When the master blacksmith felt the item was completed he would call out, "Tob!" This means, "Good," and the item was considered satisfactory.

I was having a discussion with someone last week and he said to me, "Well, of course you know the introduction to the 1611 King James Version (of the Bible -- KJV) says, that the understandings of the unrighteous are, 'hammered on their anvil,'" I had to admit that I had never read the introduction to the 1611 KJV. Of course I don't have a 1611 copy, (I recently saw one on sale for 2 million dollars if you are interested.) but my only copy is fairly old so I had hope that the same introduction would be in it. To my delight it was and sure enough, in the fifth paragraph, just as I had been told, there was the statement.

It is a grand statement and it does not only apply to those outside of Christ. We, as Christians, do the very same thing ourselves. Jeremiah 10:12 tells us that God, "by His understanding has stretched out the heavens." It is God's understanding that we seek, not our own. Yet we are prone to take out our understandings and, as it were, place them on our anvil and hammer away -- forging what we would like. This is foolishness and we all know it. Chapter two of Proverbs begins by telling the reader to treasure the commandments of the Lord. Then in verse two it says that to do this is to, "incline your heart to understanding." This is the understanding that we need and I know I probably say it too much, but we find this understanding in God's Word.

We fiddle with our time when we try to hammer away on our anvil forging our own view of wisdom. I have a quote taped on one of my doors from A. W. Tozer. It is so simple, "Lord, save me from puttering." In other words, Lord, save me from wasting my time. We simply can't afford the time to hammer away on our own anvil. We must seek God's wisdom and that is found in His Word. There is encouragement here for us also. 2 Timothy 2:7 tells us, "Consider what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything." This is a great promise and we ought to remember it as we go to the Lord in prayer or open up His Word to meditate.

Soli Deo Gloria,

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