A group of women were studying the book of the prophet Malachi in the Old Testament. As they were studying Malachi 3 they came across verse 3, which says: “He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver …” This verse puzzled the women, and they wondered what this statement told them about the character and purpose of God.
One of the women offered to find out about the process of refining silver and report back to the group at their next Bible Study. That week the woman phoned a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest in order to burn away all the impurities.
The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot. Then she thought again about the verse, that he sits as a refiner and purifier of silver. She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time as the silver was being refined. The man answered, “Yes” and explained that he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left even a moment too long in the flames, it would be damaged. The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, “How do you know when the silver is fully refined?” He smiled at her and answered, “Oh, that’s easy. When I see my image in it.”
God refines and tests all who believe and try to follow the example that Jesus shows them. He wants all his followers to try always to reflect something of His character.
The apostle Peter tells us, “Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ … as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, You shall be holy, for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:15-16
Throughout the lives of those who follow Jesus there will be times of trial, frustration and sadness. Believers aren’t promised trouble free lives but they know that God is watching over them at all times and shaping them to be fit for eternal life in the Kingdom that Jesus will establish on earth when he returns. 1 Peter 3:12 “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are open to their cry …” True believers will “… run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”