Thursday, 9 April 2009

Brokenness: Study two part 1. Purifying of silver and gold

Sphere: Related Content “2 Even to day is my complaint bitter: my stroke is heavier than my groaning. 3 Oh that I knew where I might find him! that I might come even to his seat! 4 I would order my cause before him, and fill my mouth with arguments. 5 I would know the words which he would answer me, and understand what he would say unto me. 6 Will he plead against me with his great power? No; but he would put strength in me. 7 There the righteous might dispute with him; so should I be delivered for ever from my judge. 8 Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him: 9 On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him: 10 But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” Job 23:2-10 (KJV)

Job was a man that really passed through more things than what some of us are going through today. Have you been in situations where you felt like Job? He looked to the right hand and left hand; he could not locate God in what he was going through. Even in places where he had seen and experienced God before, he looked and felt God had left him behind and moved on. Not only had God moved on without him, he felt that even when he seems like coming close to locating God so as to talk with Him, He hides Himself making things more difficult for him. One of the most excruciating experiences we go through is not oftentimes our difficult circumstances but the pains we go through when God seems so far away in the midst of our troubles. You try to do the things you are familiar with, the things He used to respond to anytime you do them, and He does not respond to you. You are not alone. Job called it a time of trial, test and God’s examination (TLB). He said that when God is finished, “I shall come forth as gold”.

Brokenness is an experience that ordinarily is not sweet to the person involved, but it is aimed at making him look better in a way that pleases God. God uses all our experiences, both the ugly, hurtful and ‘good’ experiences, to make us shine better in this dark world. The whole idea of the gold smith putting gold, though precious, into the furnace is to improve its quality and not to destroy it; to remove the dross so that He can use it for vessel.

“Take away the dross from the silver, and there shall come forth a vessel for the finer.” Prov 25:4 (KJV)

The trial of our faith is more precious than gold which perishes and God, being the Master Gold Smith, oftentimes subjects or allows His child go through a “purifying” experience to improve his character, develop spiritual inner strength, expose and purify his heart, and cause the image of His Son to be seen more clearly in them

“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: 8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: 9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. 1 Pet 1:7-9 (KJV)

Every dealing of God, though painful it may be, is to help us grow and better represent Him in this world as His sons He can trust. The more our character is refined, the more men see Jesus through us. The more we are transparent. It is not always a forever experience; it comes at a time God may want to prove us.
We live in a world that does not like pain and we avoid it any how we can. That is the way we are. However, sometimes, there is no other way to work out God’s purpose in us other than through pain. There is no other way to refine gold if you must get the best out of it. Gold is not glorified together with the dross. The dross must be removed and the process is through fire.
Nobody displays the gold with its dross in the show room. The ore must be taken to the gold smith who puts it in the furnace. As it stays in the furnace, all the dross will be melting away as the temperature rises. The longer it stays in the furnace, the higher the quality of your final product. I heard a story where a gold smith was asked when he knows that the gold is due to be brought out of the fire and he answered, “When I begin to see my image on the gold, then I know it is time to bring it out”.

Our heart can easily drift from God and get attached to a lot of things we are familiar with. It can easily be tied down by the world. The same way the silver smith uses the crucible to test silver, the gold smith uses the furnace to refine gold, God uses our experiences to refine us.

“The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the LORD tests the heart.” Prov 17:3 (NIV)

In kingdom terms, woods, hay and stubble are useless materials. God does not have anything to do with them. They cannot meet God’s standard and cannot be used for any thing of eternal value. It may have surprise you that the materials God purifies are the gold ones.

“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. 4 Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the LORD, as in the days of old, and as in former years. Mal 3:2-4 (KJV)

This speaks of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ and what will happen in His days. God will raise vessels that will offer acceptable sacrifices to Him in righteousness. The sons of Levi will be purged as gold is purified. Now, why will it not involve all of the sons of Israel? This is because, not all will be able to withstand the purifying experience. Only the Levites will stand and the reason is because God wants to use them.

One of the problems we have today is the issue of worldliness. Believers are in competition with the world; hence they compromise in all kinds of things so as to meet up. We lose our identity and distinctiveness before there is no apparent dividing line. Most preachers no longer challenge us to live holy lives. They challenge us to go and get money and bring into the church without caring how and where we get the money from. They tell us that we are not supposed to suffer at all. We are to continually be on top of others, dominate and rule over them. This makes us not to be ready for God to use us for His purposes. Our eyes no longer go to service opportunities but to thrones to occupy. God does not use already made instruments. He makes His instruments and uses them. This process of re-orienting and preparing us is not all the time a smooth one. I oftentimes takes the form of purify like gold is purified in fire.
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