Our God is a consuming fire. Get ready. Your faith can face a testing in God’s crucible. Perhaps it will be God’s chastening, the furnace of affliction, or the firey trial. Through the refining process you will shine.
(1) Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.
(2) But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? For HE IS LIKE A REFINER’S FIRE, AND LIKE FULLERS’ SOAP:
(3) And 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.
God sits AS A REFINER AND PURIFIER of His people.
He is like a REFINER’S FIRE.
A REFINER’S FIRE…
- It REFINES
- It PURIFIES
- It MELTS the metal
- It SEPARATES out the IMPURITIES that reduces its VALUE
- It BURNS them up
- And it LEAVES the silver and gold intact.
Our God is like a REFINER’S FIRE.
Hebrews 12:29 tells us,
For OUR GOD IS A CONSUMING FIRE.
For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.
God often manifested Himself to His people, in FIRE, and GLORY (Exodus 24:17).
And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly.
Malachi says the Lord will come, and…
Who shall stand when he appeareth? For HE IS LIKE A REFINER’S FIRE
As A REFINER’S FIRE He ‘consumes’ and burns up the dross, as the fire of a furnace.
He SEARCHES out, CLEANSES and PURIFIES the HEARTS of men.
A REFINER’S FIRE does not destroy.
It produces something of A BETTER QUALITY, according to THE REFINER’S PURPOSE:
- The FIRE will purge out THE DROSS
- The fire SOFTENS and makes pliable, so that a vessel can be SHAPED
- The fire will TEMPER – it will reduce the brittleness in hardened steel; it PRODUCES STRENGTH.
It is with THE MOST PRECIOUS METAL that the refiner TAKES THE MOST PAINS.
And HE SHALL SIT AS A REFINER AND PURIFIER OF SILVER…
The refiner never leaves his crucible, but He sits down and carefully tends the fire.
At the perfect time and heat THE DROSS floats to the top and he SKIMS it off.
He then can look into THE PURIFIED METAL and SEE HIMSELF, and he puts out the fire.
The refiner TESTS THE METAL and makes it SHINE…
So too, our Lord wants to PURIFY and bring out what is GENUINE and FAITHFUL within our lives, so that we can SHINE.
Peter tells of how OUR FAITH will be TESTED, like gold in a furnace.
He speaks of HEAVINESS and TESTINGS…
Of Faith. Much more precious than gold, that is TRIED WITH FIRE.
Our Faith will undergo A PURIFYING PROCESS…
1 Peter 1:7
…That THE TRIAL OF YOUR FAITH, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
The normal Christian life is not without its problems or trials. Peter, Paul, John, and all the first Christians faced threats, danger, and persecution.
Precious metal must be put through WHITE HOT FIRE so that everything IMPURE is BURNED AWAY. And only THE BEST remains.
Sometimes God, as a REFINER, uses THE FURNACE OF AFFLICTION…
Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.
The REFINING process speaks of the PURIFICATION of PRECIOUS METALS.
The Christian life can take us through times of…
And God’s REFINING PROCESS ultimately…
- Brings Him GLORY and
- Brings us BLESSING.
SUFFERING can be a part of GOD’S PLAN:
1 Peter 4:12-16
(12) Beloved, think it not strange concerning THE FIERY TRIAL which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
(13) But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy…
(16) Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.
God will allow THE FIERY TRIAL. It is not something we should consider strange or unusual.
It is GOD AT WORK.
THE FIERY TRIAL can mean a COST of something very dear to you. In this time of FIERY TRIAL we can learn to TRUST and OBEY God, and GLORIFY GOD.
It may be that God is building our Christian CHARACTER through testing, as we walk the dark road of PAIN or HARDSHIP or PERSECUTION.
What should not stay in our lives will be BURNED AWAY, and what is NEEDED for our lives will GROW STRONGER.
In the Bible, God’s TESTING is sometimes called a “CHASTENING.”
In Revelation 3:19, Jesus said,
“As many as I love, I rebuke and CHASTEN.”
We are TESTED because God LOVES us.
Just as a father will DISCIPLINE a child because he loves him, and wants to correct the child’s wrong actions – in order to protect him from future harm.
In the same way, God chastens us.
The heat of God’s refining fire comes upon us and CLEANSES us from UNRIGHTEOUSNESS; and we can KNOW and RECOGNISE the Lord’s refining fire in our life whenever we are going through TRIALS AND DIFFICULTY.
Now no CHASTENING for the present seemeth to be JOYOUS, but GRIEVOUS: nevertheless afterward it YIELDETH THE PEACEABLE FRUIT OF RIGHTEOUSNESs unto them which are exercised thereby.
He is training us, teaching us.
When we experience trials it is not a time to complain.
The Lord is SHAPING US into HIS IMAGE.
2 Corinthians 3:18
But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
The Lord told Paul, 2 Corinthians 12:9
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.
When we are going through trials GOD is doing a WORK in us. We are being PERFECTED in Christ,
We can learn to TRUST and LEAN on the Lord.
God uses ADVERSITY, PERSECUTION, SICKNESS, AND SUFFERING to REFINE and TRANSFORM us – into the image of Christ.
For thou, O God, hast PROVED us: thou hast TRIED us, as silver is tried.
God REFINES HIS PEOPLE.
In Revelation 3, the Lord speaks to THE CHURCH AT LAODICEA:
I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich…
The Lord commends GOLD, TRIED IN THE FIRE. Gold is PURIFIED BY FIRE.
The TEST is necessary. You cannot REFINE METAL without some serious HEAT.
We cannot learn to develop DEEP TRUST in God without some HEAT OF TROUBLE.
Fire DESTROYS or GETS RID OF THE DROSS and PURIFIES THE GOLD.
The GOLD can TAKE THE HEAT – but THE DROSS cannot.
In the kiln the dross proves WORTHLESS and it becomes DETACHED.
But the GOLD that has been through the fire is MORE PURE AND VALUABLE – AND REMAINS.
God REFINES HIS PEOPLE. As GOLD that has passed through the FIRE.
We see how God works this way with His people.
For example: ELIJAH was such a man who went through THE FURNACE, THE FIERY TRIAL.
He had prayed for a drought.
And God answered his prayer.
Then the Lord led Elijah in a lesson of FAITH, and provided FOOD and SHELTER, as Elijah learned to depend upon him.
The fire intensified and his purification process began – as the river dried up due to the drought. Trusting a widow in a pagan land wasn’t Elijah’s idea of provision, yet he obeyed God in full, and He received blessings from God.
In the book of Daniel, we read that the faithfulness of SHADRACH, MESHACH, AND ABED-NEGO was tested in a fiery furnace.
When they stood firm and would not bow down to the golden idol, king Nebuchadnezzar had them thrown into a furnace.
Even though they were faithful to the Lord, God allowed them to be thrown into the fiery furnace to show forth His power.
Though they were in the fire, and it appeared as though the Lord was nowhere in sight, they not harmed by the fire. Nor were they alone.
Nebuchadnezzar peered in, and exclaimed,
Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.
JESUS was IN THEIR MIDST all along.
God revealed that He has the power to RESCUE His people from the fire.
God HOLDS us while we are in the fire.
God WATCHES over us while we are in the fire. He is CLOSE by.
Just as with the Hebrew children – He will watch over us.
We are precious in God’s sight.
We will emerge from the fire, not just unscathed, but unbound.
At times in life we will feel the HEAT.
- Our faith will face testing.
- At times the intensity can seem too much to bear.
- We can maybe feel like we will never make it through this fire.
- We can feel like giving up and giving in.
When the pressure and heat is applied to our lives, God is beginning a refinement process.
Maybe we will feel God has left us. Yet the Son of God is always walking in the flames when his children are cast into them.
The refiner is never far from the furnace and watches while his gold is in the fire.
There will be times we go through the fire.
But we will be purified, coming out cleaner, brighter, and tested. We will “shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father” (Matthew 13:43).
If you are experiencing TRIALS and TROUBLE right now, it could be God’s refining fire at work.
God will bless us, even in the time of hardship. We must be patient.
Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.
JOB was one who went through the refiner’s fire. He testified that he will come forth as gold…
(10) But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.
(11) My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined.
(12) Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.
Job underwent great suffering, but he knew it was the Refiner’s fire, and he would come out as gold.
Perhaps you will find yourself in the midst of the fire.
Job passed through trials and adversity.
Job declared that God knew the way he was going and when it was all over he would come forth as gold.
God tested ABRAHAM also, calling on him in a great test of his obedience.
(1) And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.
(2) And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.
And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.
Abraham passed the test successfully!
EGYPT, the land of slavery, was like an iron furnace for the people of God.
But the LORD hath taken you, and brought you forth out of the iron furnace, even out of Egypt, to be unto him a people of inheritance, as ye are this day.
God led them out.
JOSEPH was sold as a slave and taken far away to Egypt.
He was cut off from his family. He was falsely accused and thrown into prison.
Yet God brought good out of all the troubles Joseph went through.
Down through the pages of scripture and the record of history we see how God’s people have faced the flame, literally…
In 1555 when Huge Latimer and Nicholas Ridley were about to be burned at the stake for their faith in Jesus, Latimer said to Ridley, “Be of good cheer master Ridley, play the man, for today we will be a flame that by God’s grace will never go out.”
A few months earlier, while also being burned at the stake for faith in Jesus, John Bradford said to Jonathan Leaf, “Be of good cheer master Leaf, we will have a merry supper with the Lord tonight.”
Where did these believers gain such a confident bearing and joy as they faced horrific death? In the fiery ordeal, they knew the difference between what is eternal, worthy, true and what was not.
They were convinced that which was unworthy, untrue, inadequate, would disintegrate and what was true would survive and shine with more purity and integrity because of the test.
Latimer knew that he was about to shine in the presence of Jesus with a light that would blind the eyes of natural man.
Malachi tells of THE REFINER’S FIRE and THE FULLER’S SOAP. It speaks of a THOROUGHNESS and SEVERITY.
The HEAT of the refiner’s fire was so STRONG, it would SEPARATE THE DROSS from THE MOLTEN PURE METAL.
The FULLER was one who hand washed clothes using STRONG LYE SOAP, after which the clothes would be placed on rocks and beaten with sticks.
The closer we get to THE FIRE OF HIS PRESENCE, the more IMPURE THINGS will leave from us.
It will be an uncomfortable process.
But BETTER THE REFINING NOW than THE JUDGMENT LATER.
God is REMOVING IMPURITIES from our lives.
The WORKS of our LIVES will face the test of fire…
One day, it says, in 1 Corinthians 3:13-15
(13) Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
(14) If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
(15) If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
GOD REFINES HIS PEOPLE.
What is God allowing in your life to refine you? Let us learn to accept…
- It is His REFINING.
- You can TRUST Him
- He has PLANS for you. To make you MORE LIKE HIM, to SHINE, to be PURE, to BE LIKE HIM.
That takes FAITH!
- Be assured that HIS EYE IS ON YOU
- His TIMING is perfect
- He WON’T LEAVE YOU IN TOO LONG – but it will get HOT!
How is your FAITH today?
Do you have this GOLD-QUALITY FAITH?
GOLD is placed in a crucible
It is subjected to intense heat.
The heat causes the gold to melt and its impurities to separate and come to the top, where they can be skimmed off.
10-karat gold does not have to be heated as much or as long as 14-karat gold. Twenty-four karat gold undergoes an even more intensive refining process.
GOLD is REFINED by fire, whether it be a furnace or by an open flame. The goldsmith will WATCH over the process very carefully so as to not damage the precious metal.
As the gold is heated, it becomes MOLTEN.
The DROSS is skimmed from the surface until ALL THE IMPURITIES ARE BURNED OFF.
The goldsmith knows it’s ready when HE CAN SEE HIS REFLECTION in the molten gold.
It is then poured into the shape that he chooses, whether it be jewelry or gold bars.
THANK GOD FOR THE FIRE…
- Things will be burned up
- Pure things will remain.
Every believer enters a season when God turns up the heat.
God is refining His church.
FIRE IS COMING…
- To Australia
- To the church.
Let us EMBRACE the fire, not try to avoid it!
The fire of the Lord will BURN OFF THE USELESS CHAFF OF MATERIALISM, FALSE WORSHIP, FALSE DOCTRINES AND SINFUL THINGS.
God’s fire will PURGE and PURIFY…
He wants EVERYTHING THAT HINDERS YOUR WALK WITH HIM TO BE CONSUMED – BURNED UP and burned out; everything that does not belong in you or in His Kingdom.
FIRE is essential in refining the ore.
The fining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold: but the LORD trieth the hearts.
God is doing a heart-deep work. This melting, this purifying and testing will BLESS and BENEFIT you. And MAKE YOU STRONGER.
Impurities are removed from precious metals through the melting process.
(2) My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
(3) Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
(4) But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
God will speak into our hearts during such seasons of our life.
When we walk through the fire WE WILL NOT BE BURNED, nor will the flame scorch us.
(1) But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.
(2) When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.
And, as THE END RESULT… it will be worth it…
Take away the dross from the silver, and there shall come forth a vessel for the finer. (Jeweler)
God’s people are His jewels. God says about those who fear His name, And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; (Malachi 3:17).
Before we can be fashioned into His jewels, the dross has to be removed.
Sometimes this may mean we go through the fire many times,
“like silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times”
One day we will be made into His jewels!
We will be for His glory and praise.