This third I will put into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.’ Zechariah 13:9
Testing of people is something required in most areas of life. It is commonly thought that testing is only for children and college students. However, adults, outside of school, get tested on a fairly regular basis.
Many workplaces require annual testing on various skills to ensure the workers keep up on those skills. Workplaces also get inspected often to ensure that they are following certain guidelines.
God said there would be a small remnant of Israel left, after being scattered, who would be tested in a fire. As they are tested they will call upon God and make Him their God.
Very few people like to be tested and no one likes to go through a fire. Both can be scary and may destroy a person. The bitter-sweet thing about being tested is that it can reveal both strengths and weaknesses.
As a fire, the testing can get rid of the bad parts, cleaning up the life of a believer in God. It can cause a person to run to God and trust Him in the process. The true remnant will run to God, the rest will run away, not trusting God.
In America and the world, God is doing a time of testing to see who will remain faithful to Him and who will fall away. This fire is to set to burn out the impurities of sin and corruption in the lives of believers. A remnant will come through to say God is their God and God will say that they are His people.
As you are going through a fire, tough and difficult times, you need to turn to God and trust Him. Allow God to be your God. He knows what is best for you and is allowing this time of testing in the fire. Allow God to burn out the impurities and distractions in your life.
When you allow God to clean you up by His testing, your testimony will be even greater. God will be able to use you even more in building His kingdom. You will be a brighter light shining for God in this dark world.
I pray today that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will allow God to test you; that you will make God your God; and that you will shine for Jesus.
Testing will surely come. And what if even the scepter, which the sword despises, does not continue? declares the Sovereign Lord. Ezekiel 21:13
When a person is in school, he knows that there will always come a time of testing. It does not matter what age or what level of schooling, testing will always be a part of the schooling.
The purpose of testing is to find out where a person stands in what he was supposed to have learned. It is a process of asking whether the student has learned anything or not. If the person fails the test, he must retake the class to work on actually learning the information. If he passes the test, he is able to move on to the next level.
God told the people that there was coming a time of testing. It was a time to test their hearts to find out if they are really following Him or not. Everything was showing that they were following idols and that they were failing the testing and would be judged accordingly.
Very few people like to be tested. When people hear that a test is on the schedule, they begin to get worried and filled with high anxiety. They question whether they are ready or not. Many start to cram for information to pass it.
Just as God tested the Israelites, He will test people today. He will test whether the person is following Him or not.
It is easy to say that one believes in Jesus and God, but it is another thing to actually follow and obey God in everything as one believes in Him.
The only way a person can know if he is truly following God is by testing. God has to reveal what is in the heart to know the level of commitment to Him.
Throughout your life God will allow times of testing to help reveal where you stand with Him. These are to allow you to know if you are passing the test of being willing to obey and follow Him with all of your life.
Every time you read the bible or hear a sermon, you are being presented with something to build you more like Jesus. Ask yourself if you are learning and passing or are you failing to learn and failing.
If you fail to learn, you will begin to fall back and may be rejected. Strive to learn to obey and follow God with all your heart. Be like Jesus, not this world.
I pray today that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will obey God with all of your life; that you will learn what God is teaching you; and that you will pass the tests God places on you.
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.