Fire is one of nature’s most valuable and destructive elements.
When Sheilah and I take walks in the late afternoon there are times the whiff of meat cooking on an outdoor grill will capture our attention. One of us will comment to the other, “Wow that smells good!” Is it not thought-provoking that the flames that stir an appetite, powers a steam locomotive, turns electric turbines can, when unleashed, leave a path of destruction and sorrow?
In today’s devotional thought, Solomon compares the flames that melt and purify silver and gold to fiery trials God allows and directs into the lives of His spiritual sons and daughters. Solomon writes,
Proverbs 17:3 – “The fining pot [refining] is for silver, and the furnace for gold: but the LORD [Jehovah; Self-existent] trieth [proves; examines] the hearts.”
The process of purifying precious metals requires intense heat. A refining pot of raw silver, sat in the midst of a flame, brings the dross and impurities of silver to the top where a skimmer removes them leaving pure silver. Purifying gold follows a similar process.
Comparing times of trial and trouble to a refining pot and furnace, Solomon taught his son to anticipate the LORD would prove, test and purify the hearts of His people by trials that test the heart, purify the motive and humble the spirit.
James exhorted the persecuted church of the 1st century:
James 1:2-3 – “My brethren, count [consider] it all joy when ye fall into [encounter] divers temptations [trials; adversity]; 3 Knowing this, that the trying [testing; proving] of your faith worketh patience [strength; perseverance].”
To be transparent, the singe of fiery trials hurts and can humiliate if not received with a humble, broken spirit. The trying of our faith and dependence on God tends to burn away the crutches of self-will and independence. The betrayal of a friend or the rejection of a loved one leaves us dependent on the LORD, trusting His way is perfect (2 Samuel 22:31; Psalm 18:30), good (Romans 8:29-29) and altogether right.
Job 23:10 – “But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.”
Someone reading this devotional is feeling the heat of fiery trials. I know it hurts and you want to flee the flames of pain and disappointments. I know how easy it is to focus on the circumstances and personalities that have disappointed you. My exhortation and counsel is—Look past the flames! Trust God will take you through the pain to the other side!
1 Corinthians 10:13 – “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”