The Refines Fire
When I was in school, I really, I mean really disliked tests. Perhaps you are like me for I disliked them to the point I would play sick, so I could skip taking the test. I soon found out that even though I may have gotten away with playing sick, I would eventually have to take the test.
Educators tell us that that tests are the only true way to measure whether the student has learned the material. Disliking tests the way I do, I’m not sure this is really true, for a true measurement whether the student understands the subject matter is how they participate in class. Even the shiest student can participate in class and their participation can be measured.
Yet strangely, even I have to admit that testing is indeed the best means of knowing the students level of understanding of the material covered.
When we become an adult often the means of testing change over time as we become mentored to or even begin to mentor others. It is a wonderful way to gauge our understanding when we begin to mentor others. As we mentor others, we start by giving small bits of information and repeat the step necessary for understanding. As the person being mentored to masters these steps we add more and more until they are able to perform the most complex things necessary in whatever area they have studied.
The process of mentoring is often filled with ups and downs as the student attempts to learn, and often the best means of learning is the most painful, it comes when we make mistakes. A patient mentor will once again lead their student back over the same course until the student finally passes the test.
Malachi 3:3 illustrates this principle. “He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer to the LORD an offering in righteousness.”
David the psalmist write, “The words of the LORD are pure words, Like silver tried in a furnace of earth, Purified seven times” Psalm 12:3.
Solomon, David’s son, wrote in his book of Proverbs: “For a righteous man may fall seven times and rise again, But the wicked shall fall by calamity” Proverbs 24:16.
God’s words and motives as David writes are pure, he sits as a refiner at the silversmiths table, first heating the silver to bring out and remove the impurities. A process that often requires many heating’s and cooling’s, up to seven times before all the impurities are removed.
For a righteous man may fall seven times and rise again, so will the silversmith continue to work with the now pure silver, molding, shaping and polishing until it reflects back at its creator his own reflection or image.
This is why our faith is so important and why Jesus was so concerned with faith, for He knew that those that did not have belief in the process, who could not place their entire trust in the refiner, would not stand the heat of temptation. When temptation comes, they fail to have the confidence necessary to pass the test. Their conviction grows weak and brittle. But for those who place all their belief, trust, confidence and with conviction born of affliction place their reliance in God, they will reflect back to their Creator His image.