Thursday, 14 January 2021
The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests the hearts. - Proverbs 17:3
King Solomon who wrote this proverb ruled Israel for a period of 40 years. God once spoke to him, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” Solomon asked for wisdom and knowledge to lead the people and God did provide. Thus Solomon was gifted with numerous wise sayings which form a major portion of the book of Proverbs and provide God’s detailed instructions for His people to lead a successful practical Christian life.
Proverbs 17:3 says, “The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, but the LORD tests the hearts.” Silver and Gold need to be refined from impurities so that the pure form can reach the users. The refining pot and the furnace are used to refine them; in a similar manner the original nature of man which is sinful is refined and its quality tested by God by testing man’s heart.
Proverbs 4:23 says “Guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” What you deposit in it will surely flow out! Psalm 44:21 says that “He [God] knows the secrets of the heart.” The human heart, in its natural condition is evil. Jeremiah 17:9 says, ‘the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?’ We may be saying to ourselves: “Why does the heart make man so evil?” Jesus gives the answer in Mark 7:21-23 by giving a list of things which proceeds from man’s heart: evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. These things defile a man and hence the heart needs to be tested by God with various circumstances in life. Testing is necessary and beneficial for the one being tested. We may think that we are perfect but testing allows us to see our real selves. It helps us to confront the reality.
In our daily lives we may come across situations where God tests us; a few areas are:
- Our control over emotions especially anger (are we able to master it?)
- Our dealings with money (are we good stewards?)
- Our response to lust (do we win over temptations of lust?)
- Our commitment towards the Lord (do we fail while persecuted?)
- Our imagination and thought life (are we pure in our thoughts and imagination?)
- Our integrity and character (do we possess Christ-likeness?)
- Our love to God and the brethren (do we operate in agape?)
- Our faithfulness to the earthly responsibilities (are we faithful to our family, job, church) ……………. and many more
God tests us so that we may know our impurities/iniquities, and He wants us to get rid of it. If you find yourselves falling/lacking in some areas of your life, just cry out to the Lord as David did in Psalm 51:2: “Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.” If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). Then seek the help of the Spirit of God to help you overcome those difficult areas as you live each day in His power.
Shall we say along with Job “…when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” (Job 23:10).
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23 & 24)