Thursday, April 24, 2008

If not silver then what?

There are a number of places in the Bible where God speaks of refining His people like silver (Zechariah 13:9 and Malachi 3:3). But in one of my favorite passages of Scripture God speaks through the prophet Isaiah to a people who are called by His name but are not acting anything like it. There in chapter 48 He speaks to them these words:

9 "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.
10 Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver;
I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.
11 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.

I will never forget reading these words and thinking how clearly I see this in my life. He has refined me and is refining me still...for His own sake, for His own sake, He has done it. He will not give His glory to another. Not to me. Not to anyone.

That's who I'm becoming by His who would not steal God's glory for myself and not give His glory to another. It's hard work. Not for Him, of course. But for me. It's hard to be refined, to want to stay in the fire, to desire more of my flesh to die. Most days I really like what's being burned away and am resistant to more loss. But praise be to God, He who began this good work in me is faithful to continue it until the day Christ Jesus returns.

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