THE REFINER'S FIRE
While And He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the LORD offerings in righteousness.
I remember when Debbie and I were a young married couple and bought our first backyard grill. It was exciting. I was going to start "grilling out" like other guys did. I was going to be "Chef Jeff," griller extraordinaire… or so I envisioned.
One of my first experiences as "Chef Jeff" was grilling chicken for some friends. It was their first time over to our house for dinner. With virtually no cooking skills to my credit, I mistakenly took the chicken off the fire too soon. Some may like rare steak, but nobody likes rare chicken … and Salmonella. At the table, my guests politely asked if I could put their chicken back on the grill to cook it a little longer. UGH! I understood, but it was still an "UGH" experience. (I decided to keep my day job and let Emeril get all the cooking glory.)
NEVER TOO SOON AND NEVER TOO LATE
Did you know the Lord puts His children on the grill, so to speak? He leads us into fiery trials. He puts us in the furnace of affliction, into the smelting pot of refinement. It is really hot and unpleasant in the fire. No one likes fiery trials … but everyone needs them in order to be made more like Jesus.
Malachi 3:3 reminds us that the Lord "sits as a smelter and purifier of silver." In His infinite love, God watches over us as we are going through the flames of the refining process. He is using our fiery trials to purge the impurities and remove the dross of sin and selfishness from our lives.
Perhaps you feel as if God has forgotten you in the fire. Perhaps you feel as if He has gotten busy with other things and has left you to languish. Perhaps you feel as if the chicken was done a long time ago. Listen, my friend … God watches you in the refining pot. He never sleeps or slumbers because He never takes His eyes off His children.
He is a master refiner, a master chef. He knows what He is doing in your life and mine. He has a purpose in every trial. He never takes us out too early, like I did with those chicken breasts, and He never leaves us in too long. Regardless of what we face, we can rest assured that our loving refiner is watching and will be faithful to do what is best for us.
SEE HIS REFLECTION
How does the refiner know when the process is completed? It is completed when all the dross is removed, and the refiner can see His own reflection in the precious metal.
God is working on you and me so that people can see Jesus in us. John the Baptist put it this way, "He must increase, but I must decrease" (John 3:30). Trust God in the fire. He is working every trial together for our good and His glory.
Jeff Schreve is Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church in Texarkana, Texas. He and his wife Debbie have been married for over 20 years and are blessed with three wonderful girls. Jeff began From His Heart Ministries, a radio and television ministry, in January of 2005. This ministry is completely listener/viewer supported. It continues only through the faithful and generous gifts of people like you. Pastor Jeff takes no salary from this ministry. All gifts go to further the broadcast.