Wednesday, June 7, 2017

His Word is Like a Hammer

Dear Friends,
The Word of God broke Jeremiah’s heart. He described God’s Word as “like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces” (Jer. 23:29). It made him stagger like a drunken man. “My heart is broken within me; all my bones tremble. I am like a drunken man, like a man overcome by wine, because of the Lord and His Holy Words” (Jer. 23:9). Well before God’s Word ever touched other people’s lives, it touched Jeremiah. It made him tremble and stagger like a drunken man, and it broke his heart.
Have you ever had the experience of God’s Word hammering away at your conscience? I have.  When I first came to the States, I resisted getting involved with the women’s work at church. I didn’t particularly enjoy women and much preferred working with teenagers. However, God does not allow us to choose to work with those we much prefer! He wanted me to work with women. It was one of those secondary callings He had in mind for me.
I reluctantly answered an invitation to go to Memphis, Tenn., and speak at a women’s’ retreat. I had no other reason to go than that Stuart knew of the work and encouraged me to go.
A wonderful woman who loved working with women led the retreat. Just my luck, I thought to myself, watching her surreptitiously. She’s going to know I don’t want to be here. I was right.  She did know because my attitude was showing. Those bad attitudes always peek beneath our behavior like a slip hanging beneath a dress. She spoke to me at the end of the conference.  “You are a good speaker technically, Jill, but it’s obvious you don’t like women!”
“Ouch!” I replied. “You’re right, and what’s more I’ve no intention of liking them because if I do, I’m afraid God will just give me a whole lot more of them to like!”
I was really disturbed about that incident. When I got home, I spent some time with God and dared to ask Him to speak to me from His Word about it. A word from Lamentations “came to” or “happened to” me that night: “Mine eye affecteth mine heart because of all the daughters of my city,” lamented Jeremiah (Lam. 3:51, KJV). Here was a man lamenting over women, while this woman—me—cared little about her own kind. Jeremiah’s heart was broken for the daughters of Jerusalem and their grim state. Mine was not. But I could give God permission to take the hammer of His Word and break my heart as well. And that is exactly what I did that night!
I prayed that God would let “my eye” affect “my heart” when I looked at the women of my city, that I would feel and see what He felt and saw, and that I would do everything I could to reach them. The release was palpable, and I began fulfilling one of my secondary callings that day.  Starting with six women in a home investigative Bible study, God gave me a heart for women that has resulted in reaching thousands of women around the world with His Word.

All He wants is for you to say, “Break my heart, God,” and He will. He will use the hammer of His Word on the anvil of your life, and you will find Jeremiah’s experience to be yours. “My eyes fail from weeping, I am in torment within, my heart is poured out on the ground because my people are destroyed” (Lam. 2:11). If God’s Word dwells in us richly hour by hour, we will live and work with a broken heart—and it will show.

Jill Briscoe
Executive Editor
Just Between Us Magazine

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