"Behold, I have created the blacksmith who blows the coals in the fire, who brings forth an instrument for his work; and I have created the destroyer to destroy." Isaiah 54: 16
We don't hear the word forge anymore, but it is where we get the modern word for fabricate, which means to create. Manufacturers today use high tech machinery such as plasma cutters and lasers to precisely cut a piece of metal and form it into the desired shape they are trying to attain. God refers to the blacksmith that blows the coals in the fire as the devil and we are the intended instrument or weapon that arises from the flames.
The ancient art of sword making involves the use of the finest steel, heating it to a white hot temperature and then beating it into the desired shape that will eventually become a useful weapon of war. There are four steps used in the making of a sword: forming, heat treating, sharpening and finishing or polishing. All of these steps create great stress on the steel but they are crucial for the development of the weapon. Any deviation from these steps would result in a defective instrument that would ultimately fail in battle.
God uses the trials of life to forge us into useful weapons in the kingdom that will not fail in the heat of battle. The devil is God's blacksmith used in the production of formidable instruments of righteousness and war. Unless we are formed correctly and are taken through the proper stages of spiritual development our lives would ultimately render useless instruments only to be thrown into the scrapyard of remorse.
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. James 1:2
STEP I - FORMING
Forming involves the heating of the forge or furnace to a temperature that will heat the steel to a point that will allow the smith to begin to beat the weapon into shape. As the metal becomes soft and pliable it can be pounded into the desired shape that will ultimately become useful to it's creator. When the trials of life seem to bring us to the melting point and we exhaust all human intervention, it makes us begin to learn to rely on God. This is what produces patience and endurance in our lives.
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ. I Peter 1:6,7
STEP II - HEAT TREATING OR TEMPERING
It is interesting that the word temper is used to describe the hardening of metal as well as our human anger. Once metal has been heated to white hot it is then quickly dropped into cold water to harden or temper the steel to strengthen it, and give it the ability of holding an edge. When we are heated to a rage against someone and resist the temptation to retaliate, we become even tempered and more apt to hold back our feelings of anger and are able to resolve the issue.
Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. I Peter 4:12,13
STEP III - SHARPENING
The sword has been heated, hammered, tempered and is about to undergo the last two phases of its fabrication process: sharpening and finishing or polishing. The blacksmith begins to grind down the edge or in the case of the two-edged sword, edges with the skill of a craftsman. Sharpening involves a time consuming process of finely honing the metal until it becomes sharp enough to cut through almost anything it comes up against. God allows the many relationships in our life to grind away at the rough spots and make us more like Him.
As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend. Proverbs 27:17
STEP IV- FINISHING
The weapon of God is almost ready depending upon the use of the instrument. Some swords are used in battle but others are strictly for dress and ceremony. For instance a military guard would carry a finely polished dress sword to be used at weddings, funerals and other formal gatherings, where as a sword used for battle would hold a smooth finish and a sharp edge for taking out their adversary's. God's loving hands finish the process of polishing by taking us through the trials of life and carefully smoothing and straightening our paths.
Throughout history men of God such as Job, King David, Daniel, Peter, Paul and even Jesus Himself experienced the fiery trials of life, and through them all God showed us His great love, mercy and purpose. The blacksmith of God has truly blown his fire upon us, but the purpose of God and destiny of His creation have overcome, making us truly instruments of righteousness.
THE SWORD OF THE LORD
Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet our inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things that are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. II Corinthians 4:16-18