Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Malachi 3:3 says: 'He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver

This was on the back of our church newsletter last week. It spoke to me and where I am right now so I thought I would share it with you.

This verse puzzled some women in a Bible study and they wondered what the statement meant about the character and nature of God. One of the women offered to find out the process of refining silver and get back to the group at the next Bible study. That week, the woman called a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him work. She didn't mention the reason for her interest beyond her general curiosity.

As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest as to burn away all the impurities.

The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot; then she thought again about the verse that says: 'He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver.' She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time. The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eye on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left a moment to long in the flames, it would be destroyed.

The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, 'How do you know when the silver is fully refined?' He smiled at her and answered, 'Oh, that's easy - when I see my image in it.

If today you are feeling the heat of the fire, remember that God has his on you and will keep watching you until He sees His image in you.

So I have been thinking and a certain situation I am in has definitely got me feeling the heat of the fire, so to speak. The question I have is what does "she" mean when she says that He will keep watching me until He sees His image in me. I was I going to continue to feel the burn until I take a certain action? Is God waiting on me to do something, to see something different in me? I am perplexed. I like the God keeping His eye on me part but the seeing His image in me is perplexing?! Any thoughts on this folks? Please feel free to give me your thoughts. Especially you, Gavio (if you are reading) are wise beyond your time, after all. I mean that sincerely not sarcastically.


Cathy said...

Hi! found your blog looking for stuff about adoption (we're in teh middle of our own adoption journey in the UK) and then saw this post about the silversmith. Thanks so much for sharing it! Hope you'll forgive the ramblings of a stranger.
What a beautiful picture, of God carefully holding us in the fire, looking to see His image... Admittedly, it doesn't generally feel that beautiful when you're in the middle of it!

In response to your question about what God is looking for and whehther he is waiting for a certain action, my suggestion is don't worry about it. Just keep following Jesus and living wisely. (If it's possible and sensible to get out of a difficult situation, that's OK too unless God has specifically said stay put. The getting out process can also be an opportunity for growth)

Silver is passive. We're not. God refines us in the messiness and activity of real life. Even if we did know exactly what God was looking for, I'm not sure we'd be able to spot it in our own lives anyway. Particularly not when things are difficult and we're feeling slightly melted!! The key things to take from the picture I think are that the Lord is making something beautiful from us, He is watching intently and with great concern and love and that He will not let us be destroyed by the fire.