September 12, 2023
- By Ed Powell
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"Behold I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction." Isaiah 48:10
I admire a person that displays that quality of refinement that stands out in "quiet demonstration," and reveals those inner qualities of maturity and character. This does not come naturally. It has been developed through a process of eliminating undesirable qualities of our personality in order to build into our life finer virtues that will enhance a sterling and attractive character. How does that play out in our spiritual life?
God does not look at the superficial projections of our life that try to impress others, portray someone we are not, or try to influence people with an ulterior motive that is self-centered. God looks upon our hearts, and He sees the motive that prompts our thoughts and actions. The superficial words that seek to influence others, and the insincere response we give to gain favor or advantage, are blatantly portrayed before Him. Therefore, in order to bring our life to a place of usefulness for Him, He often uses "affliction" to awaken us to our need and "refine" our life.
Isaiah speaks very specifically to this process. "Behold, I have 'refined' thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction" (Isaiah 48:10). Devastating as it may be, the "furnace of affliction" is for our good and for His glory. Well might we rejoice in that "I have chosen thee." God's hand is upon us to change us from "what we are" to "what He wants us to be."
Peter also speaks to this method of God's working in our lives. "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you" (1 Peter 4:12). Then again he says, "That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 1:7).
God sees our lives as potential "vessels of honor" that He desires to use for His glory. But these vessels are marred, unclean, selfish, unrighteous, and vain...that need to be "REFINED." God wants the "vessel" to reflect His honor, His glory, and magnify His Name. The refining process is beautifully illustrated in the words of Malachi 3:3..."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."
The sons of Levi were the priests that served the Tabernacle, and it was imperative that they served with hearts and lives "refined and cleansed" by God. He compares this refining to a silversmith sitting beside his crucible until the impediments rise to the top. When he sees his image reflected in the precious metal, he knows all of the impurities have surfaced and have been removed, all that remains is pure silver or gold. The "refining process" is complete.
So God puts us in His "crucible"...applying the tempering fire, until the impurities rise to the surface. The "vessel must be clean and refined" if He is to use it for His glory. God uses affliction to refine our lives. He not only seeks to rid our hearts of those undesirable qualities, but to implant those virtues of His character that will magnify His name, and make us "conformed to the image of His Son" (Romans 8:29). "I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction." It is His refining process.
© 2007 by Ed Powell. Used by permission.
This page was reprinted by permission from: http://www.litmin.org/dare.php?date=2023-09-12
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