Word on Fire
Paul writes to Timothy
'I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you'
so, to help the church with this, we offer this brief word, because
“Is not my word like fire,” declares the Lord'
There once was a blacksmith who had two pieces of iron which he wished to weld into one. He took them just as they were, all cold and hard, and put them on the anvil, and began to hammer with all this might, but they were still two pieces, and they would not unite. At last he remembered what he should never have forgotten. He thrust both of them into the fire, took them out red-hot, laid one on the other, and by one or two blows of the hammer they soon became one.
This story can be taken as an illustration of the means of achieving unity between believers, or between believers and the Lord (see ‘We Need The Fire’), or it can be an image of the way in which we prepare weapons for spiritual war. But it’s not just a cute story with a contrived application (don’t you just gag at preachers who tell stories without telling the Word?). Read on.
The Blacksmith’s Heritage
“See, it is I who created the blacksmith who fans the coals into flame and forges a weapon fit for its work. And it is I who have created the destroyer to work havoc; no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and this is their vindication from me,” declares the Lord. Isaiah 54:16-17 (NIV)
Did you catch that? There is a heritage spoken of by the Lord. An inheritance, as it can also be translated. It is promised for the servants of the Lord – not for the bystanders, the couch-potatoes, the ones who talk the talk but don’t walk the walk. For the servants – regardless of whether we are apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers, or other people of the body of Christ – for all servants.
The Heritage of a Struggle
If we serve the Lord of heaven and earth (Mt 28:18), the God of the New Creation (2Cor 5:17) there will be an opponent who seeks to work havoc in our life and ministry. The Destroyer will come against us to make everything corrupt and wasted (these are alternative meanings of 'havoc', such as found in Gen 6:11). God-created him, yet Satan is a fallen angel who now stands against us if we stand with Jesus. I don’t need to say more about this. We know it’s true!
The Heritage of Victory
Yet ‘no weapon forged against you will prosper’. Whatever the opposition, the victory is ours. Jesus Christ holds victory in store for us; it is ours through his blood, and we shall march in triumphal procession through his name, hallelujah! (Prov 2:7; 1Cor 15:57; 2Cor 2:14). Whatever the weapon that the enemy creates or applies against us, it cannot prevail. This is the promise of the Word, and the heritage (or inheritance) of the servant of the Lord.
The Heritage of Honour
‘and you will refute every tongue that accuses you’. Our enemy is The Accuser (Rev 12:10), and he wants to dishonour the Glorious One, Jesus, and the brothers and sisters of faith. The enemy constantly wants to bring down into shame the ministering servants of Jesus. If he had his way, Satan would tarnish each and every Christian reputation beyond recovery. But he cannot succeed! This is our promise, our inheritance! 'Instead of their shame my people will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace they will rejoice in their inheritance' (Isaiah 61:7). We will speak out the true and victorious Word of God, and the High Priest of our Confession, Jesus Christ (Hebrews 3:1) will ensure that his word on our lips prevails.
How the Heritage is Ours
Let's go back to the blacksmith. The context of this passage from Isaiah hasn’t been of horses casting their shoes, or of wrought iron fences around beds of roses. It’s been about victory against the enemy, and the blacksmith is God’s picture to us of the way in which we can gain our heritage. The blacksmith ‘fans the coals into flame [or the embers into fire] and forges a weapon for its work’. Are you fanning the embers into supernatural fire? Are you daily remembering how much you need to have the fire burning hot? With this fire in your heart and soul, sister .. brother, are you taking care to forge ‘a weapon fit for its work’ - weapons of faith, testimony, and passionate commitment for Jesus and for his Kingdom? . Whatever we offer in the the service of God, no matter how small or weak, it will be transformed into a fitting weapon through heaven's fire. Each of us is this blacksmith. Return to the fire, friends!