Monday, May 9, 2016

Forged and Tempered

Anyone who has read or watched The Lord of the Rings knows that Aragorn could not conquer the dark lord Sauron without the re-forging of the ancient sword which had been broken centuries earlier, cutting off Sauron’s hand and wresting the ring of power from him.

The images of the hot metal being hammered into place by the elves give mental pictures to the hard work of the Holy Spirit upon everyone who wants their lives to count and make a difference in our broken world.  Forging is the application of heat and mechanical energy that causes metal to change shape.  Tempering is the application of heat to decrease the hardness of alloys, making them more pliable and less brittle.

When we read the Old Testament stories of two prophets — Elijah and Elisha — we are immediately drawn to the out-of-the-box, over-the-top miracles that God did through them. We can “see” Elijah taunting the false prophets on Mount Carmel, then calling down fire from heaven to burn his sacrifice to God. We can feel the relief of Naaman after he relented and took Elisha’s instructions to dip seven times in the Jordan River so that his leprosy would be healed.  But, have we ever stopped to see that God was using challenges and pain and difficulties to forge and temper these two prophets?  Both of them are remembered for their mountain-top experiences, but we quickly forget the doubts that surfaced as God graciously applied heat and external energy to forge and temper them.

If you want to walk with God, he will heat you up to harden you and mold you into shape. Then he will heat you up again to decrease your hardness and make you more flexible, increasing your endurance as his servant.

This weekend begins our Summer Sermon Series at Stone Ridge Church.  For the next 13 weeks, we will focus upon Elijah and Elisha, learning how God forged and tempered them.  Then he did miracles! I’m excited about this series, entitled “Don’t Blink” (or you might miss the miracle!) for multiple reasons. Among them is the privilege of working with this year’s preaching team. We will learn from each other and all of us will grow at Stone Ridge Church. I hope you can join us for the introduction this weekend. Can’t make it? Catch the podcast!