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Malachi 3:3 — God's Refining Fire

  Malachi 3:3 "He will sit as a refiner and
purifier of silver."

This verse puzzled some women in a Bible study and
they wondered what this verse implied about the
character and nature of God.

One of the women offered to find out the process of
refining silver and get back to the group at their next
Bible Study.

That week, the woman called a silversmith and made
an appointment to watch him at work. She didn't
mention anything about the reason for her interest
beyond her curiosity about the process of refining silver. 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 the hottest so as to burn away all of the impurities.

The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot; then she thought again about the verse that says: "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 the silver was being refined. The man answered that, "Yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver in the fire, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed. 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 the silver."

  Application for Separated Men:
We talk about this concept in the Separated men's group, the idea of being in the fire. I've been in the furnace several times in my life, and it's no fun. There is one thing I've learned about it. It never lasts. At some point it will be over. We never know when. And I know that doesn't make it less painful.

One thing I know from experience is to give up. I mean really, just give up. I'm not saying run away or jump out of the fire or medicate the pain. I'm saying give up to God. You can't do this alone. Sometimes I've just said to Him, "God I give up. I can't do this on my own. I need you. You are all I have. I am at the end of my rope. I give up."

I've seen over and over again that this is exactly what God is waiting for. Once I give it to him, the pain, the attempts to control, the anger, holding on, everything, only then will He step in and work His plan. Only then, have I felt His grace washing over me. And then, sometimes slowly, sometimes immediately, I am taken out of the fire. As Pastor Rick says, "God is God and you're not."

I ask you. Today. Please just give up.
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