That He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life. There is no doubt that John 3:16 will come to the minds of many this time of year. It is a beautiful verse and one of the more well known. But what of another verse that perhaps is not as well known? I want to talk about Malachi chapter 3. Do you know about silversmithing? If not, I hope you learn another beautiful verse today and I hope it becomes just as much a staple to you as the one in the book of John.
2 But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' sope:
3 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.
In order to understand a little more, I'll give a little history on silver. Up until about 500 BC, silver was regarded as the most valuable metal on earth. It was during the reign of Solomon that gold became more valuable and replaced silver as the most precious metal. It was for 30 pieces of silver that Christ was betrayed for. 30 pieces of silver was the price of a slave during that time.
In order for silver to be refined, it takes a very skilled refiner. One who knows exactly what he is doing and one who is incredibly patient. The silver is put into the hottest part of the fire and the refiner must sit with their eye steadily fixed upon it. If the silver is removed too soon, impurities are left within and it is not pure. If it is left too long in the fire by even the slightest degree, the silver vaporizes and is lost. The timing is very critical. Silver is placed in a crucible along with lead and they are heated together. Air is blown onto the surface of the molten metal while it is in the furnace. Silver and gold do not react with the air, but the lead, copper, iron and other impurities do. When the lead comes in contact with the air, it reacts and circulates throughout the entire mixture. This circulating lead then absorbs all the other metal impurities to form a mixture called dross which floats to the surface. The floating dross is then blown over the edge of the crucible by the blasting air and is consumed by the furnace. The silver left behind is free of impurities. When the refiner can see his own reflection in the silver, he knows it is ready to pull from the fire.
God is a consuming fire. We have read it many times. He will consume the dross among us and leave behind only the pure. Our trials are not just happenstance, nor are they coincidence. Stop for a moment and reflect on that. God has numbered the very hairs on our head. Don't you think He knows exactly what he is doing? When we go through trouble, all we have to do is turn our heart and mind toward God. This is what we should be doing all the time anyway, through good times and bad. But we, in the flesh, are sinners and we mess up more oft than not. That is each and every one of us...no exceptions. We determine how long we are held to the fire. If we turn from God too soon, we are left with impurities. If we are stubborn and stay too long, we are ruined. But when we turn our face towards God and when He can see His reflection in us, that is when He knows to pull us from the fire.
If not for our rough times, what lessons would we ever learn? If we always give to our children and never teach them how to earn things for themselves, how can we expect them to learn anything? And how will we ever know that they love us unconditionally...without any giving strings attached? Most likely, they would be nothing more than spoiled brats who expect everything handed to them and will have no use for anyone who doesn't give them what they want. If God gave us everything we wanted, how would He ever know that we love Him for who He is and what He has done for us? Most likely, we would be those spoiled brats. So we are placed in the furnace, to be tried by fire, and to become a little more pure in the process. We become malleable to His will.
Not only does God want to see His reflection in each of us, He also wants others to see Him in us as well. Silver does not refine itself nor does it separate itself from the dross and neither can we purify ourselves. It is from the heat of the furnace. The severity of our trouble is extremely important to God. He wants us to be pure and never to be lost. He watches us very closely and once we have turned to Him, He knows exactly when to pull us from the fire.
It is also very important to memorize 1 Corinthians 10:13.
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
There are three of the over 8,000 promises from God within this one verse. Nothing will happen to us that hasn't happened to someone else. He will never put more on us than what we can handle and He will always show us a way out. All we have to do in order to get out of the fire is to look towards Him with a sincere heart.
The next time you are going through trouble in your life, look towards God and open your heart to Him. Confess all to Him and then stand like a child of God and claim the promises He has written. In Isaiah chapter 43, God tells us to remind Him of His promises:
25 I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.
26 Put me in remembrance: let us plead together: declare thou, that thou mayest be justified.
Do you think God needs to be reminded of His promises? No, He doesn't. But He does want to know that we know of them because it proves to Him that we have read His letter to us. If we remind Him of His promises, then we have proven ourselves to Him just a little more and we lose more of that dross that weighs us down.
Be sure to take a moment out of your day, every day, and tell God that you love Him and that you are thankful for Him. And if you are currently in the fire....turn your face towards Him and watch as slowly, more and more dross melts away. Stay focused. You are a child of the living God. Get on your knees and act like it.
In His Service,