Some of you may know that I have a jaw-breaker the size of a billiard ball in my office. The reason for my having this jaw-breaker is another story, but I was looking at it today and thought that it might make for some interesting reading. A jaw-breaker, as we all know, is a piece of candy that is virtually impossible to break with your teeth. So in order to consume it, you must put it into your mouth and let it slowly dissolve away. But, a billiard ball size jaw-breaker is impossible to put into your mouth. If you can’t get it into your mouth, then how can you dissolve it? Seems like a rather difficult dilemma, doesn’t it.
When I bought this particular jaw-breaker, I asked the sales lady, “How do you eat this thing.” She told me there were only two ways that she knew to do that. You could either lick it until it dissolved enough to put into your mouth (I can’t imagine how long that would take) or you could break it with a hammer. Being a man, the second solution appealed greatly to me. However, I have not, as of yet, applied this solution, as I have ulterior motives for the purpose of the jaw-breaker, such as writing this article.
But suppose I were to take a hammer and smash the jaw-breaker; what do you suppose would happen? I would no longer have a jaw-breaker, per se, but a thousand tiny pieces of sugary candy. At that point, no doubt, it would be fit for consumption, but it certainly wouldn’t provide the lasting enjoyment that a jaw-breaker is supposed to provide. Its purpose would basically, be destroyed. Such is, however, what happens when force is brought to bear upon that which is obstinate.
Such reminds me of the Old Testament prophets and the message that they often had to get across to others. They dealt with a people that were very similar to a jaw-breaker. Regardless the amount of scriptural force that was brought to bear upon them, they would not budge. They were obstinate. Isaiah also wrote regarding their condition: “Because I knew that thou art obstinate, and thy neck is an iron sinew, and thy brow brass” (Isaiah 48:4). Jeremiah wrote regarding these people: “Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will bring upon this city and upon all her towns all the evil that I have pronounced against it, because they have hardened their necks, that they might not hear my words” (Jeremiah 19:15). In order to break them, God had to bring an irresistible force upon those people; the result was that they crumbled underneath it.
My jaw-breaker also reminds me of the character Haman in the book of Esther. You remember that Haman was promoted to be the number one man next to king Ahasuerus after the king’s other counselors plotted against him. However, when Mordecai refused to bow down to Haman, he decided that Mordecai had to go. Ahasuerus, on the other hand, sought to honor Mordecai. Haman thought Ahasuerus wanted to honor him. He ended up being humiliated in leading Mordecai around the city on a horse. Ultimately he was hung on his own gallows for his plot to kill God’s people. Just as my billiard size jaw-breaker is too big for its own good, so also was Haman. Romans 12:3 says, “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”
Finally, my jaw-breaker reminds me of the task that God has set before each one of us. This jaw-breaker could be consumed by licking it over and over again. But it would take some time to consume a billiard-sized jaw-breaker simply by licking it. How could we accomplish such a task? One lick at a time. Paul wrote to the church at Corinth in 1 Corinthians 15:58, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” James 5:11 reads, “Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.” If one really wanted to consume this jaw-breaker, it could be done. We have sometimes a seemingly impossible task before us, but it can be done, if we really want to do it. We take it one day at a time (Matthew 6:34).
Who would have thought that a billiard-size jaw-breaker could teach us so much? Let us not be so hard that God has to break us into a thousand pieces in order for us to be useful. Let’s not be so big that we cannot accomplish the purposes for which God made us. Let’s do be patient enough to be able to “lick” those seemingly impossible tasks that are before us. God has given us the tools that we need in order to serve Him appropriately. Let’s do what we can each and every day to keep our spirits pure, humble, and patient as we long for the Lord’s return one day.