THE CRUCIBLE OF LIFE
Malachi 3:2-3 “For God is like a blazing fire refining precious metal – like a refiner of silver He will sit and closely watch as the dross is burned away. He will purify the Levites [His servants], the ministers of God, refining them like gold and silver SO THAT they will do their work for God with pure hearts.”
So, now we understand that God corrects us, disciplines and refines us! He does it through a process He has revealed to us in various ways in His word, a process that is similar to the process the gold and silversmiths apply to smelt the raw ore in the crucible of fire. The Apostle Peter likened it to fiery trials! 1 Peter 1:6-7 ‘so be truly glad! There is wonderful joy ahead, even though the going is rough for a while down here. These trials are only to test your faith, to see whether or not it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests gold and purifies it – and your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold; so if your faith remains strong after being tried in the test tube of fiery trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honour on the day of His return.’ [Please note who it brings praise, glory and honour to?]
So, we see that it is God’s Holy fire that is used to purify us and that these upheavals, problems and troubles are God’s permitted trials and they are likened to the fire of the furnace! He doesn’t want to put us through some of these situations, but He allows them for a greater purpose! Before I go into Malachi 3:2-3 in greater detail, I just want us to see a couple of situations where trials and upheavals are used for good purposes! Proverbs 29:19 ‘sometimes mere words are not enough-discipline is needed. For the words may not be heeded.’ Sometimes we hear God but don’t listen to Him and obey Him! If He can’t get through to us using words, then He uses corrective measures and discipline. He does it because He loves us [Hebrews 12:7-9] not as some propose because He’s mean! Only twice have I had to spank my son! Once when he refused to listen to my warnings that ‘it is dangerous to run in to the road!’ He would not heed my words, but he heeded a smack to the leg! The other time was similar but for cheek. I tapped him on the cheek. It stopped any more of this and he always heeded me afterwards. I loved my son in the process of discipline, I just hated what he did, not him! And it hurt me to discipline him! God hates our sin and impurities but HE DOES NOT HATE US! He dearly loves us and so much so that He corrects us for our own good, and I for one am glad He does!
In Acts chapter 8 we see a fire of persecution sweeping through the early Church scattering believers in to Judea and Samaria, funny thing is the Church multiplied and thrived because of it! And why? Because Jesus had told them to go in to Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth to preach the good news [Acts 1:8] and as yet they had not, but had settled nicely thank you very much in the comfort zone of Jerusalem. They had not heeded His words, and so He sent corrective measures and got them in to Judea and Samaria, and the irony of it all was that the biggest persecutor of the Church [Saul] was the one who after conversion and preparation took the Gospel to the rest of the world via his missionary journey’s, but mostly through his teachings in his epistles!
And just as God ripped their comfort zone from underneath them, we see this in nature! When baby Eaglets are ready to leave the comfort of the nest, fly and be what they were destined to be, they don’t want to move because it is cosy, comfortable and familiar! And so Mummy Eagle proceeds first of all to rip the nest to pieces thus removing their security blanket; then she boots em one at a time off the mountain ledge! As they struggle to flap their wings and fly, she swoops underneath them and bears them up on eagle wings! Then tips them off to try again! This process will continue till they are confident to fly on their own, catch the thermal currents and soar just as God created them to do, and likewise He has created us to soar to spiritual height; trouble is, yes you guessed, too much dross, rubbish and baggage to sometimes even lift off let alone fly, hence, the refiners fire! Ok, now go pray and ask God to help you get rid of the baggage, after all it is He who has said ‘cast your cares on me because I care for you’.
PRAYER Whatever is on your heart to pray!