Can you people who are like iron and bronze break that iron fist from the north?
[Jer 15:12 NET]
You see that the Lord, when he is pointing out the trials his people are passing through, compares them to “iron.” He does not diminish their weight; he does not at all lower their oppressive tendency. But, then, in order to administer a suitable remedy to Jeremiah’s soul, he brings forward something much stronger. “Shall iron,” he says, “break the northern iron and the steel?” No surely; the “northern iron and the steel” shall break through that. The common iron never can break through the northern iron, which is a metal of such a far superior nature; still less prevail against that keen well-tempered steel which can cut through everything it touches.
Now if your hearts are exercised with iron sorrows, temptations, trials, and perplexities, I am sure you will want the almighty power of God in your souls to cut them asunder. And God can do it. Are you a poor persecuted believer? God can cut down in a moment that enemy who is persecuting you. Are you tempted of Satan? He in a moment can cut his fiery darts asunder. Are you passing through a severe trial? By the application of some precious promise the Lord can in a moment cut the trial asunder. Are you entangled in some grievous snare that you feel and cry out under night and day, and yet are unable to extricate yourself? The Lord can in a moment, by the application of his precious word to your soul, cut that snare asunder. He has but to bring against it “the northern iron and the steel,” and it is done in a moment.
How was it with Jeremiah? Did not he say, “Your words were found, and I did eat them; and your word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of my heart?” Why? Because keen persecutions, sharp trials, severe temptations had given him an appetite; that was the reason why the “word was found.” He fell upon it as a hungry man upon a crust. It was sweet to his soul, because it brought with it a precious deliverance from the temptations and the sorrows his soul was groaning under.
Thus, we see that in proportion as we feel the iron nature of trials and sorrows, shall we experience “the northern iron and the steel” of God’s almighty power and grace to deliver. Happy are the people that are in such a case! Happy the people that have this Lord for their manifested God!