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.
While reading Malachi chapter 3, a group of women in a Bible study came upon a remarkable expression in the third verse: "And He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver."
One woman spoke up and said the verse was intended to convey the sanctifying influence of the grace of God. Then she said she would visit a silversmith and report to the other women what he said on the subject.
She went accordingly and, without telling the object of her errand, begged to know the process of refining silver, which the smith described to her.
"But, sir," she said, "do you sit while the work of refining is going on?"
"Oh, yes, ma'am," replied the silversmith. "I must sit with my eye steadily fixed on the furnace, for if the time necessary for refining is exceeded in the slightest degree, the silver will be injured."
The woman at once saw the beauty and comfort of the expression, "He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver." God sees it needful to put His children into a furnace: His eye is steadily intent on the work of purifying, and His wisdom and love are both engaged in the best manner for them. Their trials do not come at random: "the very hairs of your head are all numbered."
As the woman was leaving the shop, the silversmith called her back and said he had forgotten to mention that the only way to know when the purifying process is complete is . . .
. . .when he can see his own image reflected in the silver.
But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.
Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be:
but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
1 John 3:2
The Old Refiner
He sat by a fire of seven-fold heat,
As He watched by the precious ore,
And closer He bent with a searching gaze
As He heated it more and more.
He knew He had ore that could stand the test,
And He wanted the finest gold
To mould as a crown for the King to wear,
Set with gems with a price untold.
So He laid our gold in the burning fire,
Tho' we fain would have said Him 'Nay,'
And He watched the dross that we had not seen,
And it melted and passed away.
And the gold grew brighter and yet more bright,
But our eyes were so dim with tears,
We saw but the fire--not the Master's hand,
And questioned with anxious fears.
Yet our gold shone out with a richer glow,
As it mirrored a Form above,
That bent o'er the fire, tho' unseen by us,
With a look of ineffable love.
Can we think that it pleases His loving heart
To cause us a moment's pain?
Ah, no! but He saw through the present cross
The bliss of eternal gain.
So He waited there with a watchful eye,
With a love that is strong and sure,
And His gold did not suffer a bit more heat,
Than was needed to make it pure.
(Taken from Streams In The Desert devotional)
Our Father, who seeks to perfect His saints in holiness,
knows the value of the refiner's fire. It is with the most precious metals that
the assayer takes the most pains, and subjects them to the hot fire, because
such fires melt the metal, and only the molten mass releases its alloy or takes
perfectly its new form in the mould. The old refiner never leaves his crucible,
but sits down by it, lest there should be one excessive degree of heat to mar
the metal. But as soon as he skims from the surface the last of the dross, and
sees his own face reflected, he puts out the fire. -- Arthur T. Pierson
If you cannot claim God's promise of forgiveness
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