The Refiner’s Fire

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Okay. I realize this is another post about fire, but believe me…I’m not a pyromaniac, or anything.

During a recent study of the Old Testament book of the prophet Malachi, I rediscovered something I’d learned long ago.

Malachi told the people the Day of the Lord would come. It would be a time when God would judge the sin of unbelievers, he would cleanse his people’s lives, and he would save his people.

In the process, God would refine and purify them like silver and gold.

His judgement against sin would be swift and impartial.

Those who did not fear God and filled their lives with wickedness would receive their just punishment.

Malachi also mentioned God would send his messenger, John the Baptist, to prepare the way of the Lord, Jesus.

Among the fascinating things I relearned during my study were the following:

  • The melting point of silver is about 1,760 degrees Fahrenheit
  • As molten silver is stirred, the lighter impurities rise to the top
  • The refiner scraps the impurities away
  • Not until the refiner sees his reflection in the molten metal is the metal pure and ready for his purposes

For those of us taught about God’s holy refining fire, we understand the illustration to represent our lives which God tests to a very significant degree to remove our impurities.

Jesus is the one who scrapes our impurities away by the power of his sacrificial blood shed on the cross of Calvary, when we accept his gift and claim him as Lord.

The part of this lesson which I’d forgotten is the last phase of the refiner’s process…the refiner doesn’t quit refining until he can see his own reflection in the molten silver of our lives shining back at him.

Wow.

Jesus loves us so much he will not leave us partially refined. He is going to keep working on us, stirring us up, removing our impurities until we reflect his image right back at him.

As I prepared to write the word dross, I looked up its definition. Here’s what I found:

1. Waste or impure matter.

2. The scum that forms on the surface of molten metal as a result of oxidation.

3. Worthless, commonplace, or trivial matter.

That’s what Jesus removes from us…our dross.

Worthless, impure scum that forms in our lives as the result of living in this fallen world.

When we are in the midst of the refining process it can be anything but pleasant.

I know.

Tortuous comes to mind.

But as Jesus heats us to 1,760 degrees, stirs us until our head spins and we cry out for relief, perhaps we need to remind ourselves he loves us too much to leave us with a coating of scum covering his reflection.

And really, we don’t want that either, do we?

Do you feel like you’re in the refiner’s furnace?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Leave a comment below. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

He will come to judge like one who refines and purifies silver. As a metalworker refines silver and gold, so the Lord‘s messenger will purify the priests, so that they will bring to the Lord the right kind of offerings. Then the offerings which the people of Judah and Jerusalem bring to the Lord will be pleasing to him, as they used to be in the past. Malachi 3:3-4 (GNT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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