The Refining Process (ouch!)

Tuesday, 17 August 2010.

To understand today’s verse, we need to look at a bit of history and science when it comes to metal. In biblical times, in order to make an object out of metal, a purification process had to occur. You see, metals in their raw form, contain impurities. To form them into something useful like a piece of jewellery or a bowl etc., these impurities must first be removed, leaving behind only the pure metal.

In biblical times a crucible was used to purify metals. The metal would be placed inside the crucible and the whole thing would then be deposited in an extremely hot fire. In fact, this fire was so hot, that the impurities within the metal would separate out from the pure metal. Today, more advanced extraction methods are used to perform this; however, they are based on the same principles of the crucible.

Proverbs 17:3 says, “Fire tests the purity of silver and gold, but the Lord tests the heart (NLT).” The NIV puts it like this, “The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests the heart.”

God knows your heart and desires for it to be aligned with Him in goodness, holiness, mercy and compassion, to name a few. We are, however, sinful in nature and living in a fallen world. It is often in times of “fire” that issues come to the surface within us. These times usually involve trials in your life. This could be a challenge you’re facing, an illness in the family, unjust circumstances, or a myriad of other difficulties in life. It’s important to know that God is not the author of such challenges. His nature is good and merciful. These issues exist because we live in a world that has fallen into sin.

A Girl of Wisdom understands that God’s refining process in her life will help her grow in character. So, when you’re going through an internal refining process, allow the Holy Spirit to gently lead you and reveal areas that are impure. This is never done with condemnation and judgment, rather it is in love. Ask God to forgive you for whatever is surfacing from within your heart and also ask for His help in growing more like Christ.

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