Sunday Sermon 7.18.20
What fire does not destroy, it hardens.Oscar Wilde
The difference between a good life and a bad life is how well you walk through the fire.Carl Jung
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.1 Peter 4:12
These trials have come to prove the genuineness of your faith, which is of greater worth than gold which perishes even though refined by fire…1 Peter 1:7
So, my assumption is that you very probably ARE going though the fire, because most of us are, including myself.
The fires of today’s ever changing societal norms, the fires of pressures and stresses on strained relationships, the fires of fatigued and worn emotions, the fires of losses, challenges, faith, and apathy. We are quite literally living in a firestorm that is surrounding us and affecting us on every side.
It would be wise to accept the fires as a given in our life, with a definite purpose.
But it is also wise to accept this promise:
When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God…Isaiah 43:2-3
Remember, Daniel’s three friends who refused to submit to the decrees of the king and were thrown into the fire? (Daniel 3) Very literally, they were thrown into a furnace heated seven times hotter than normal. And yet, they not only survived the ordeal, the king actually saw a fourth man walking around in the fire with them!
Three thrown in, four seen in the fire! That is the promise from Isaiah, that the fire will not burn us because the Lord Himself will be walking with us through the fire. What a promise, what a miracle!
In the very midst of the fire, the Lord is with you. In the most heated exchanges, in the burning and aching hearts, in the crying out of flesh, soul and spirit, the Lord, Himself is with you.
I firmly believe, these days are being used by Him to refine us, process us, and bring the best, most pure from within us.
Malachi and Zechariah both spoke of a time when the Lord would refine his people like silver and gold, when the Lord would sit as a refiner and purifier. (Malachi 3:2-3; Zechariah 13:9) Yes, this was referring to Israel and it’s historical captivity and rebuilding. But things that happened in Old Testament times happened as an example for us, too. With lessons and applications for us. 1 Corinthians 10:6
I submit to you, the purpose of the fire(s) is to refine us. To purify us.
I recently spent some time studying the process for refining silver, gold, platinum, and palladium. That process is extensive! At my count, it contains no less than 32 steps! Check out some of these words used in the refining process:
- hauled out
- brought to the surface
- primary crusher
- secondary crusher
- cone crusher
- water to separate
- acid added
- filter press
- black powder
- 50% silver, 50% waste
- dried out
- placed in oven
- silver and waste separated
- poured out
- settles to bottom
- waste skimmed off
- sold to refinery
- flux added
- placed in crucible
- able to take the heat
- placed into melting furnace
- placed into acid solution
- all impurities dissolved
- results = 100% pure
If you and I are silver or gold and we are in the fire, then look at this amazing process. Look at the purpose of the fire. The Lord, as the refiner is processing us to be 100% pure, remolded into the image of Jesus. All impurities and waste burnt away in the crucible and only pure silver, or gold remains.
We are being tried in the fire and shouldn’t consider the ordeal we are in as some strange thing. It is the process of purification and stripping away all that is waste. He has not left us, He is with us in the process and is directing the entire operation in our life.
Check back at those words, that process, it’s an extensive and painful process.
He is making of you and me, a vessel of honor, pure and solid.
Trust Him, through the fire.
Go with God.