The Psalm writer wrote: Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Your law. As we come before a Holy God and hear his word, may we have eyes open to the wonderful and fearful things from his law. May it move us to repent and seek forgiveness, fear disobedience, and live in light of the grace we have received.
This is the word of God. It is eternally true and applicable for all of life.
Proverbs 17: 1-10 Better is a dry morsel and quietness with it Than a house full of feasting with strife. A servant who acts wisely will rule over a son who acts shamefully, And will share in the inheritance among brothers. The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold But the Lord tests hearts. An evildoer listens to wicked lips; A liar pays attention to a destructive tongue. He who mocks the poor taunts his Maker; He who rejoices at calamity will not go unpunished. Grandchildren are the crown of old men, And the glory of sons is their fathers. Excellent speech is not fitting for a fool, Much less are lying lips to a prince. A bribe is a charm in the sight of its owner; Wherever he turns, he prospers. He who conceals a transgression seeks love, But he who repeats a matter separates intimate friends. A rebuke goes deeper into one who has understanding Than a hundred blows into a fool.
Silver has a melting point of 1763 degrees. Gold, 1943 degrees. That’s pretty hot. In those temperatures, without special protection, we would not last very long. At those temperatures, when silver and gold are refined, all impurities are purged from them, and what remains is pure. How hot does it have to get to melt gold? Think of smeagol and his precious in the fires of Mordor. The Proverb tells us this morning that “The refining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests hearts.” Ask Job about being tested by God. Look to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, literally thrown into a furnace. Paul, with his thorn in the flesh. Consider Jeremiah Thomas, fighting for his life against cancer. Or Pastor Mark, with the pressures of being an operations manager. How are you being tested this morning? Paul tells us in Philippians that it has been granted for Christ’s sake not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for his sake. This conforms us into the image of Christ. How are you suffering, how are you being tested today? Are you suffering well? Perhaps you have some strained relationship, with a friend, co-worker, or family member that is testing your patience. Maybe a disobedient child has you feeling powerless and frazzled. It could be that life seems to be coming at you from 10 different directions, and your time seems to be monopolized by everyone else. Brothers and sisters, where do your hopes lie? When we get thrown into the furnace of testing, we can respond 1 of 2 ways: we can doubt God’s promises, or trust Him. We can seek to protect ourselves in those times when trials come, and they will come, or, we can run to the only refuge we have, Christ Jesus. Let us trust in Christ, our Good Shepherd, who goes before us into battle and knows a little something about trials and refining. Please kneel with me as we confess how we have broken God’s commands in our failure to trust in Him in the midst of testing.
Heavenly Father, LORD, please grant us hearts and minds that recognize our sins before You this morning. Please grant us repentant hearts, that we might turn from trusting in our weak frame, and trust instead in Your Son Jesus, our Saviour. Father, we shift back and forth like waves tossed to and fro between faith and unbelief, and when trials comes, this double-mindedness becomes even more apparent. Father, please forgive us for doubting You. Please forgive us for trusting in the weak flesh of men, and our own strength, rather than in the One You sent to set us free from bondage. Lord, please help us to remember that You send us trials, to test our hearts, and refine us, and this is actually evidence of our relationship to You as sons and daughters. Help us oh Lord to remember that a Father disciplines the son whom He loves. Help us to welcome the testing with gladness, the persecution with joy, the whirlwind with shouts of praise to You, that the heathen might see and be led to repentance. It’s in Christ Jesus name we pray, Amen.
Listen now to the comforting assurance of the grace of God, promised in the gospel to all that believe:
John 1: 9-13 There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
Lift your hearts up to the Lord!!!
(From the 4/29/18 liturgy of Sovereign King Church. Written by Aaron Sabie.)