Monday, April 7, 2014

Vessels Unto Honor

I love the old song from Steve Green called “The Refiners' Fire”.  The chorus is:

The Refiner's fire, has now become my sole desire.
Purged and cleansed and purified,
That the Lord be glorified.
He is consuming my soul,
Refining me making me whole.
No matter what I may lose, 
I choose the Refiner's fire.

In Zechariah, it says, "... in all the land, two parts shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left. And I will put this third into the fire, and Refine them as silver, and test them as gold. They will call on My Name, and I will answer and say, 'They are My people'; and they will say, 'Yahweh is my Elohim!!!'." (Zec 13:9) .

God is also called the Refiner's Fire in Malachi, and Job mentions that God will try him and he shall come forth as gold.  Isaiah, Daniel and  Nehemiah also make reference to the refining fire.
Much can be gleaned from meditating on this name of God.  But, He is not just called “fire”.  John Piper points out,
He is a refiner's fire, and that makes all the difference. A refiner's fire does not destroy indiscriminately like a forest fire. A refiner's fire does not consume completely like the fire of an incinerator. A refiner's fire refines. It purifies. It melts down the bar of silver or gold, separates out the impurities that ruin its value, burns them up, and leaves the silver and gold intact. He is like a refiner's fire.”

A friend and I were recently discussing this very thing, sharing about different trials and struggles we all go through.  There are so many “self-help” books and worldly philosophies out there to combat any problem, addiction, or dysfunction you or your family may have.  The reason this is such a booming business is because people flock to it.  We are a “quick-fix” society.  Any type of band-aid or solution to make our life easier or explain away our sin will do.  Why?  Because it seems so much easier than the Refiner's fire!
No one wants to go through the fire.  No one wants to be burned.  But, as we all know, the quick-fixes are just that.  They may be a temporary solution and bring a season of false hope, but it is false and temporary because it is superficial.  God's desire for us is for refinement.  It is a wonderful thing and a beautiful example of His great love for us.

When we go through trials, when we have struggles, when we have questions, our first response needs to be to run to the Word of God.  No matter how convicting or heart-wrenching it is to see our sin through God's Word, it is Truth.  Modern philosophies and methods are fleeting, but God's Word is “ living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12
Human wisdom appeals to the flesh, but God's Word will pierce us and find the root. The Refiner's fire will cauterize the wound and bring complete healing.  This refining is a gift, this fire is a balm.  We shall come forth as gold!  And as the silversmith knows just when to pull the silver out of the fire, our Great Refiner knows just how to bring us to the place where we reflect the Son. Then we will be fit for the Master's use.  Then, we shall be vessels unto honor.

But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold. Job 23:10

All for Jesus!