See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. Isaiah 48:10
Refining something is working to make something better. It is a process of getting out everything impure and worthless to increase the value of something. This can be a slow and tedious process, that is repeated over and over, again and again, until the refining is complete.
Most people do not have what it takes to completely refine something to near perfection. They get satisfied with a few impurities, because it is too much work to purify it any more. They give up too early in the process and accept imperfection as good enough.
In this passage God tells the Israelites that He had refined them. He put them through a furnace of affliction to make them better, to refine them.
Affliction is rarely seen as something good or worthwhile. It is often seen as trouble and worthless. God sees it of high value. The purpose of affliction or trouble is to refine a person.
The refining in people is making them more like Jesus. It is the process of drawing them closer to God, to lean on and focus upon God more and more.
When things start going bad and there is great affliction, most people start to complain and get angry with God. It is hot and painful, with a severe burning. They do not want to go through it. They see absolutely no good or purpose in it.
The one who truly believes in God and is following Him with all of his heart will turn to God during the affliction. This turning to God is not to complain or get angry, but to seek His will in the situation. It is to learn from God in becoming more like Jesus.
Just as God worked in the lives of the Israelites to refine them, God will work in your life to refine you. He wants only the best for you and in you. He expects only the best from you and will strive to get it.
There will be times when God will put you in the furnace to burn out imperfections and sin. These can be imperfections of actions, thoughts, desires or words. Anything that goes against God in any way is an imperfection or sin, including not obeying what He tells you to do.
As you go through the furnace, learn from God and allow Him to change you. Become the image of Jesus to this world.
I pray today that you will know the salvation of Jesus; that you will seek God’s will while in a furnace; that God will give you His peace during times of affliction; and that you will grow to be more like Jesus every day.