Hammer… Hammer of God, is that a real thing? I didn’t really think so, although God certainly uses people as instruments in his hand. Tools. Equipment. I wasn’t actually praying, not studying or even meditating when that question popped into my mind the other day. Maybe I was remembering the movie “Thor” that my daughter and I saw some months ago, I’m not sure what started this train of thought.
Along with that casual question, certain scenarios began to run through my mind. Hammering an enemy until he’s defeated, for instance. I gave the word a bit more mental focus and envisioned some physical, mental, emotional and spiritual definitions and uses of a hammer.
Nouns: tool, equipment, instrument, appliance, weapon; sign or symbol of position, power or authority.
Verb: to strike a surface with force; attack, beat physically or verbally; win, defeat an opponent or enemy; stress a point in a discussion or argument; repeat in different viewpoints, with different examples; work out an agreement about an issue.
Tool types: claw hammer, sledgehammer, jackhammer, ballpeen hammer; hammer and tongs (blacksmith’s tools); large and small, hammers come in many varieties, shapes and sizes.
Used by: a blacksmith, builder, carpenter, construction worker, roofer, metalworker, mechanic, handyman, businessman, housewife, student, inventor, engineer, decorator, attorney, judge, auctioneer, diplomat, mountain climber, explorer, hunter, seaman, camper, intercessor, evangelist, counselor, mentor, teacher, mediator. Who doesn’t own a hammer?
In addition to the practical uses of the tool such as hammering nails, the word appears in many metaphorical phrases: to hammer out a point; hammer out an agreement; hammer the desk to call for order, such as with a judge’s gavel; hammer away, i.e. keep arguing the same point; hammer out disagreements; fall of the hammer, meaning the end of an event such as an auction, trial, or lawsuit; put the hammer down, meaning to press all the way down on the accelerator to go maximum speed; bring the hammer down, to fire a handgun. (See http://www.word-detective.com/2009/11/bring-the-hammer-down/)
When I was doubtful whether the word hammer appeared in the Bible, the Lord whispered to me, “Don’t be so sure…” So, I looked the word up in Strong’s Concordance. It’s only in a few places, all in the Old Testament. Two basic words in the original language are translated hammer – maqqebeth, a tool used for striking a surface; and halmuwth, a tool used to perforate or make holes.
Judges 4:21 and 5:26 describe Heber’s wife Jael using a workman’s hammer and a tent spike to kill Sisera, driving the spike through his skull into the ground as he slept. Gruesome but fascinating account.
I Kings 6:7 says “And the house (i.e. Temple), when it was in building, was built of stone made ready before it was brought thither: so that there was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the house, while it was in building.”
One verse sort of leaped off the page at me: “Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?” (Jer. 23:29)
I like that one. I visualize the Hammer of God as a weapon – like a spiritual jackhammer provided for us to use against any enemy, problem, difficulty, or opposition we might face.