If the sufferer could meet the gracious Purifier in every circumstance, he would see nothing but His ever abiding presence. Every unfriendly blow of the hammer would be warded off if the one being beaten down would have shield of faith that nothing can pierce. Out of every FIERY trial he could shout with the great Apostle, “None of these things move me.”
By Kenneth F Haney
It was John the Baptist who announced Jesus in thundering tones. “… He [Jesus] shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable” (Luke 3:16-17).
God uses fire to purge His children so they can be more prepared for His work. One of the most powerful stories in the Bible is told in Isaiah 6. It was the year that king Uzziah died and Isaiah went to the temple. One a certain day Isaiah saw the Lord, and he was never the same since.
He saw the Lord high and lifted up on a throne and around the throne were seraphims that cried, “… Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory” (Isaiah 6:3).
The glory of the Lord was so powerful that the posts of the door moved and the house was filled with smoke. When Isaiah saw the portrayal of glory he cried, “… Woe is me! For I am undone, because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts” (Isaiah 6:5). Notice what happened when he repented. “Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs form off the altar: And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged” (Isaiah 6:6-7).
It was FIRE form the altar that purged him. Soon as he had been purged, Isaiah heard the voice of the Lord asking for someone to work for Him. He said, “…Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me” (Isaiah 6:8).
Malachi 3:2-3 demonstrates the FIRE of the Lord: “…for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap; And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.”
James McConkey explains Malachi 3:2-3:
A visitor was watching a silversmith heating the silver in his crucible. Hotter and hotter grew the fires. All the while the smith was closely scanning the crucible. Presently the visitor said; “Why do you watch the silver so closely? What are you looking for?” “I am looking for my face,” was the answer. “When I see my own image in the silver, then I stop. The work is done.” Why did the silversmith light the fires under the silver? To purify and perfect it. Is God’s child-training an executioner visiting upon us the wrath of God? Nay, it is rather a cleansing angel pouring forth upon us the love of God. The furnace, the suffering, the agony of child-training, what do they mean? God is looking for a face! It is the face of His Son. “For he hath fore-ordained us to be conformed to the image of his son.” And He is purging from us all that dims that image. Like all true parents, God has a model, a pattern to which He is fashioning the lives of His children. That pattern is Jesus Christ. And God’s great purpose is that Christ should be formed in us.