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.