ISAIAH 48:9-11 -“For my name’s sake I defer my anger; for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you, that I may not cut you off. Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you, tested you, chosen you in the furnace of affliction. For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another.
THEME OF THE DAY. IN THE REFINER’S FIRE. Today’s scripture is a favorite of those children of God who experience the heat of God’s refining fire. When we find ourselves in situations and circumstances that are overwhelming, this portion of Isaiah’s prophecy is a safe place to run and hide. It will bring comfort to hurting hearts; rest for tried souls; and peace to anxious minds. Why? Because our gracious God has revealed to us a “behind the scenes” look at our trying and difficult times. This is important for when trials abound, we tend to look at the immediate and its associated confusion and pain instead of pausing and considering the purpose, as well as the ultimate goal in those trying and difficult times. And God has shown us both – the purpose of His refining fire and its goal.
First – the purpose for being in the Refiner’s Fire. It is designed to build mature faith by burning away what hinders mature faith – selfishness. When we encounter trials and testing in the scriptures and life, they are designed to purge us from ourselves; our greatest spiritual foe. God loves us so much that He will “turn up the heat” in our lives to get the ugliness of living for ourselves out of our thinking and living. And it will be the heat of intense trials and testing that empties us of ourselves as they drive us out of ourselves and totally abandoned to the Lord and His will.
Next – the goal of being in the Refiner’s Fire – the glory of God. Our Lord is working all things in our world and lives with this single objective – to bring glory to His Name. Don’t let “the glory of God” become a mindless saying we utter when going to church and serving in ministry. Pray it becomes a deep-seated passion in our hearts that understands every test, every trial, every difficulty, and every circumstance is coming into our lives for this purpose. If we learn to see all of life under the umbrella of “for the glory of God”, our responses in the Refiner’s Fire will truly bring glory to God.
So, how are we doing in the Refiner’s Fire? To answer that question, allow me to share a great insight from a man of the 19th century named John MacDuff. He wrote a wonderful devotional titled “The Rainbow in the Clouds” and penned these words about the believer’s experience in the Refiner’s Fire – “Believer, be it yours to ask, ‘Are my trials sanctified?’ Are they making me holier, purer, better, more meek, more gentle, more heavenly-minded, more Savior-like? Seek to glorify God in the fires.” And as we do, always remember, the One who sent you into His Refining Fire will also be with you in His Refining Fire. He never sends His children anywhere that He hasn’t gone before and He will never send His children anywhere that He will not be with them.
PRAYER: “Father, help me not rebel when You choose to refine me by the heat of trials and difficulties.”
QUOTE: “God does not put us in the heat of trials to hurt us, but to purge us of the dross of selfishness”