But who can endure the day of [Christ’s] coming? Who can stand when He appears? For He will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. 3 He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; He will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver… I, the LORD, do not change…
Malachi 3:2-3, 6
Points to Ponder:
Members of a small group Bible study – knee-deep in the book of Malachi – found themselves struggling to make sense of some of the prophet’s words. They were particularly perplexed by Malachi’s statement that Christ as LORD “will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver.” Puzzled, they wondered aloud among themselves what the prophet was revealing in regard to the character and nature of God the Son.
One member of the group suggested they research the process of refining silver. She volunteered to investigate the routine herself and report her findings to the group at its next meeting. She began her mission by scheduling an appointment with a silversmith in order to go to his place of business and observe his routine.
Perched on a stool in his workroom, she watched with intensity his action as he confidently went about his craft. She studied the silversmith’s adept movements as he held one piece of silver to the fire and waited for it to reach a desired degree of heat. While they waited, the silversmith explained to her that in order to refine silver, it is necessary to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames are at their hottest temperature in order to burn away all of the metal’s impurities.
As she watched, the lady thought about the symbolism of what she saw; how Christ figuratively holds His followers to the blazing trials of life. Then she thought again about Malachi’s statement about the refiner and purifier of silver. With a new insight taking shape in her heart, she asked the silversmith if his craft required him to remain in front of the fire for the duration of time it took for the silver to be refined. The craftsman answered affirmatively, explaining that he not only must sit and hold the silver during the process but that he must keep his eyes fixed on the silver for the entire time it stayed in the fire. Why? If the silver was left unattended and spent just one moment longer than necessary amid the flames, the fire would destroy it.
A full minute of silence passed before she asked the silversmith a final question.
“When do you know when the process is finished? I mean, how do you know when enough is enough?”
He smiled and answered, “Oh, that’s the simple part of it all. When I can see the reflection of my image in the silver, I know my work is finished.”
Do you ever find yourself in the fiery blaze that seems to erupt out of nowhere in everyday life? The scorching heat of rejection? Health issues? Budget woes? Antagonism from family or friends? Remember this, dear one: you are more precious to the Ultimate Silversmith than the most valuable metal in the world. So precious are you to Him that Christ was born for the express purpose of dying on the Cross to offer you eternal life in His presence. Once you accept that offer, you will absolutely find yourself in one refining fire, then another, then another. But know without a doubt that He holds you tenderly in His hands through the entirety of each process. He never looks away, never blinks, never changes. Not one lick of a flame – not one – escapes His notice. And each lick – each one – refines you closer and closer toward a clear reflection of His perfect image. And at His second coming you will hear, “Well done.”
– Copyright 2016, Carole Anne Hallyburton. All Rights Reserved.
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Focus for Reflection:
Think back to times of the most heated “fiery refinement” in your life. Did you feel the presence of Christ with you during the process? If so, in what ways?
Do the words of Malachi 3:2-3, 6 in any way shape or reshape your outlook as you wait expectantly for Christ’s second coming?
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