Whenever I get a prayer request, I tend to analyze the words the person used to both get an idea of what is on their heart and to pray more specifically for them. Today, someone asked for prayer and mentioned iron. That started me on a Bible word study of iron, and some fascinating things came to my attention.
Iron is the most common element on Earth. One thing you can say about iron – it is strong. That strength can be both good and bad, depending upon the situation.
Externally, we use iron in many things today. A skilled craftsman has the power to put iron ore in a furnace and create steel that supports the massive weight of skyscrapers. That same man could be reduced to a state of helplessness when bound with shackles made from the same material.
Magnets made of iron can be small and fun for children to play with, and can also be large enough to pick up a large truck destined for the scrap furnace.
Internally, Iron is essential for life as we know it. Almost every living organism contains iron, and iron amalgamates with other elements to form proteins, enzymes, and other compounds which are vital to higher functions. Blood is red because of hemoglobin, a protein made from iron. Iron deficiency in humans causes problems such as fatigue. Yet at higher levels, iron is toxic.
The same abundant iron that is necessary for life and incredibly beneficial in so many ways can also be restrictive, damaging, and deadly.
Iron is mentioned in the Bible one hundred times. Almost all of these instances are regarding tools or other objects. Likely, humans did not discover the biological functions of iron until much later. Interestingly, the book of the Bible that mentions iron more than any other is Daniel, written around the climax of the Iron Age. Daniel is also the only one to write about iron as an internal component, in his prophetic visions.
Jesus came to this iron-clad world wearing iron-filled flesh. His magnetic personality attracted some and repelled others. Iron nails held His hands and feet to the cross as He spilled his iron-saturated blood to break the iron shackles from our hands and feet.
God constantly uses the iron within us to give us strength. And sometimes, the Almighty Craftsman melts us with intense heat. While trials are painful to us, God promises that during the times of smelting, he is molding us into powerful tools to be used for His Glory.
From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron; he willtread the wine press of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. Rev 19:15