God’s Refining or Consuming Fire

So you had an ugly knock down drag out argument with your spouse or a coworker. Or something got under your skin and now your peace and joy in the Lord seems to have taken a hike and is no where to be found. Worst of all, you’re a sincere Christian trying to walk out a life pleasing to Father God but you blew it AGAIN!!!. Knowing God has seen the entire event from every point of view and is even aware of every motive and intent of your heart through it all. It doesn’t matter that you were in the right or taking a righteous stand for something but it ended up being in the wrong way, not being an imitator of Jesus Christ’s character.

Maybe none of the above applies to your situation. You have control of your emotions and react properly under every crisis of life feeling and believing, “I have finally learned to master my outward and inward walk of faith in a pleasing way to God.”  I can, “be angry but sin not.” Instead, the doctor has just given you terrible news concerning your health or that of a dearly loved one. You are right in the center of an overheated “furnace of affliction,” and cry out to Jesus, “why Lord? Have I sinned to bring this upon me or my loved one.”

“For My name’s sake I will defer My anger, And for My praise I will restrain it from you, So that I do not cut you off. Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. For My own sake, for My own sake, I will do it; For how should My name be profaned? And I will not give My glory to another.
Isaiah 48:9‭-‬11 NKJV

In any of these situations, does the thought ever enter your mind, “I am right in the center of God’s Perfect Will for my life.  None of this going on in my life is a surprise to God.” My favorite preacher, B.H. Clendennen had a saying, “Devil, God let you come knocking on my door for one reason. To teach me something and for me to put you under my feet.”

1 Then Job answered and said: “Even today my complaint is bitter; My hand is listless because of my groaning. Oh, that I knew where I might find Him, That I might come to His seat! I would present my case before Him, And fill my mouth with arguments. I would know the words which He would answer me, And understand what He would say to me. Would He contend with me in His great power? No! But He would take note of me.

10 But He knows the way that I take; When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold. My foot has held fast to His steps; I have kept His way and not turned aside. I have not departed from the commandment of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth More than my necessary food. “But He is unique, and who can make Him change? And whatever His soul desires, that He does. For He performs what is appointed for me, And many such things are with Him.
Job 23:1‭-‬6‭, ‬10‭-‬14 NKJV

As with the account of all Job went through, Satan is only allowed certain rights over us at times of God’s choosing. When Father God says, “it’s time to polish my jewels and make them shine a little brighter.” These scenarios don’t apply to everyone. Maybe you ARE Steeped in Sin or God has no place in your mind or life so you are wide open to every scheme of the enemy. You have No understanding, faith or trust that God will see you through this. But for those who love God and desire to live a life pleasing to Him, Malachi says this,

Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, And the Lord listened and heard them; So a book of remembrance was written before Him For those who fear the Lord And who meditate on His name. “They shall be Mine,” says the Lord of hosts, “On the day that I make them My jewels. And I will spare them As a man spares his own son who serves him.” Then you shall again discern Between the righteous and the wicked, Between one who serves God And one who does not serve Him.
Malachi 3:16‭-‬18 NKJV

Could you ever imagine that Father God would let His Precious Jewels sit in a corner, forget about them and allow them to just collect dust? I don’t think so. I believe He regularly polishes them up and displays them, “These Are My Jewels!!!” Isn’t that what God said of Job?

Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?”
Job 1:8 NKJV

The times in my life that I really learned about God’s Love and Faithfulness in Really Profound ways was when, in the middle of a crisis I remembered, “what’s going on is No Surprise to Father God.” All of a sudden faith in Him would arise in me. My focus would get off of the “why me?” pity party and look to God’s purpose in this instead.

12 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 17 For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? Now “If the righteous one is scarcely saved, Where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?” Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.
I Peter 4:12‭, ‬17‭-‬19 NKJV

On Sunday during worship a thought of a bible verse came to mind, believing God put it in my mind I made a note of it. Three days later the verse appeared in the devotional reading I do each day from My Daily Bible app.

Only the gold, the silver, the bronze, the iron, the tin, and the lead, everything that can endure fire, you shall put through the fire, and it shall be clean; and it shall be purified with the water of purification. But all that cannot endure fire you shall put through water. And you shall wash your clothes on the seventh day and be clean, and afterward you may come into the camp.”
Numbers 31:22-24 NKJV

Believing that was God’s way of telling me to study about what His Word says of cleansing things first with fire, then with water, I began this study.

The last of 5 notes to myself was about a verse from Lamentations chapter 3 and my initial thought was, “Remember to remind God about it while praying for Pastor Wanda’s healing.” The verse speaks of God’s faithfulness to “those who seek Him.” Later I realized even this verse was related to my bible study of the Refining Fire of God.

Through the Lord ’s mercies we are not CONSUMED, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!” The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, To The Soul Who SEEKS Him. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly For the salvation of the Lord .
Lamentations 3:22‭-‬26 NKJV

In the midst of your furnace of afflection or a white hot refining fire and there is no indication of how you will fair in the end remember, No Testimomy comes without first a Test. Faith, Hope and Quietly Trusting in God’s Salvation needs to be evident BEFORE the test ends.

If we pay close attention to thoughts and desires that are not our ordinary, daily thoughts, and if they pertain to the Word of God, promoting His Righteousness, or that could bring Glory to God there is a very good reason to believe that The Holy Spirit could be behind it. God wants us to understand His ways and a ministry of the Holy Spirit is to teach us and direct our footsteps.

These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you. But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.
I John 2:26-27 NKJV

There are some really good songs out there about God’s Refining Fire.

Refiners Fire –  Purify my heart, Let me be as gold and precious silver. Purify my heart, Let me be as gold, pure gold. Refiner’s fire, My heart’s one desire, Is to be holy, Set apart for You, Lord. I choose to be holy, Set apart for You, my Master, Ready to do Your will. Purify my heart, Cleanse me from within And make me holy, Purify my heart
Cleanse me from my sin, Deep within

Soul On Fire – God, I’m running for Your heart, I’m running for Your heart, Till I am a soul on fire. Lord, I’m longing for Your ways, I’m waiting for the day, When I am a soul on fire. Till I am a soul on fire.Lord, let me burn for You again. Let me return to You again. And Lord, let me burn for You again. And let me return to You again

If you’ve been a Christian for awhile maybe you have been warned already, “Never Pray for Patience.” It’s like a sure thing that something will pop up out of nowhere and be a real test of your patience.  It will be a lesson to show you the area you are lacking patience.

I believe when we sing the songs about God’s Refiner’s Fire, or sincerely ask Him to purge us of things that hinder His Anointing on our life we should have the same cautious, “looking over your shoulder” attitude.

The purpose of any refining fire is to PURIFY, be it silver, gold or a person. In metals a refining fire makes impurities rise to the top of the molten metal where it’s burned off or skimmed away. Purging away of anything effecting the purity of the object is the goal.  In a person it’s to make the undesirable motives, hidden desires, bad attitudes and ungodly behaviors rise to the surface and expose it’s ugly head. When God is in control of the refining process, He controls the heat. Not actual heat but the catylist that triggers the ungodly reaction hopefully in a way that saves face for us and doesn’t cause us to be a reproach to His Holy Name.

When I was still a baby “Born Again with God’s Spirit’ Christian a popular song was “The Old Man Is Dead” by Del Way. It’s a really nice song and the words sounded great, and were a relief.

The old carnal, sinful, selfish nature in me was DEAD, Praise God!!!  Only one problem, the song was a lie. The old man, my carnal desires weren’t dead. They were playing possum.  The Fire for God burning in me told them, nows not a good time for us. They just took a time out to regroup and pick their battles. Satan is the old carnal man’s friend and guide. He and his demons have been at the “polluting people” business a longer time. Bishop Drew has a saying, “he’s a good devil” meaning Satan is good at what he does for evil’s sake.

A person refining gold or silver will keep the heat up, about 2,000 degrees, while poking and stirring the molten metal to get it to let go of the impurities attached to it. The more they do this, skimming off the crud as it rises to the top like oil or fat in a gumbo or stew, the clearer their reflection will be. They keep this up until the gold or silver is So Pure it’s almost like they are looking in a mirror. The Goal of God in refining His children is to see His reflection in them. Only bad thing is if it’s a person this is happening to it isn’t any fun and you’re wanting to sing a different tune. Like “Power Of Your Love” or something. But even that song says,

Lord, I’ve come to know
The Weaknesses I see In Me
Will Be STRIPPED Away
By the power of Your love

Many times in the Word of God we are told,

For our God is a consuming fire.
Hebrews 12:29 NKJV

The Apostle Peter spoke of God’s work in the last days as a consuming fire too,

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.
II Peter 3:10 NKJV

“For behold, the day is coming, Burning like an oven, And all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble. And the day which is coming shall burn them up,” Says the Lord of hosts, “That will leave them neither root nor branch. But to you who fear My name The Sun of Righteousness shall arise With healing in His wings; And you shall go out And grow fat like stall-fed calves.
Malachi 4:1‭-‬2 NKJV

So it seems we have a choice. Submit to the Refining Fire of God now or be Consumed by His fire later. That thought reminds me of the “Settle Out of Court” post recently.  The key to which fire you get consumed or refined by is the faithfulness of our “Covenant Keeping God.” Then our decisson to keep covenant with Him or not.

“Behold, I send My messenger, And he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, Will suddenly come to His temple, Even the Messenger of the covenant, In whom you delight. Behold, He is coming,” Says the Lord of hosts. “But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire And like launderers’ soap. He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi, And purge them as gold and silver, That they may offer to the Lord An offering in righteousness.
Malachi 3:1-3 NKJV

The things spoken of in Numbers 31:22-24 needed to be purified. They had been touched by death and sin. Even the men of Israel and their clothes had to be cleansed, purified after the battle to not bring defilement into the camp. God had warned them that a defiled camp meant He would not “Walk Among Them.” As God said,

For the Lord your God walks in the midst of your camp, to deliver you and give your enemies over to you; therefore your camp shall be holy, that He may see no unclean thing among you, and TURN AWAY FROM YOU.
Deuteronomy 23:14 NKJV

The Apostle Paul told us,

Therefore, putting away lying, “ Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another. “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
Ephesians 4:25‭-‬26‭, ‬28‭-‬30 NKJV

All the way back in Deuteronomy 23 God was warning Israel to walk in covenant as God directed them. God gave very clear and precise instructions of what defiled a person or even animals and things. Defiled people or things would “grieve God” causing Him to TURN AWAY. God is Holy, always was and always will be.

For I am the Lord , I do not change; Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob.
Malachi 3:6 NKJV

If we are doing our best to walk in covenant with God, I believe He even allows us to accomplish some of the refining, purging away of undiserable behaviors and thoughts as His Anointing empowers us. We can apply the affliction to ourselves through fasting, seeking Him and prayer. This isn’t the 2,000 degree heat type of refining but a slow burning ember God works with to cleanse.

Behold! My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect One in whom My soul delights! I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles. He will not cry out, nor raise His voice, Nor cause His voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed He will not break, And smoking flax He will not quench; He will bring forth justice for truth. He will not fail nor be discouraged, Till He has established justice in the earth; And the coastlands shall wait for His law.”
Isaiah 42:1‭-‬4 NKJV

Jesus can work a kinder, gentiler refining in us if we desire it and work on ourselves to purge the undesirable things in us that hinder His anointing in us.

A year or so ago, one afternoon I woke up about 3pm and needed to get ready, eat and leave for work at 5pm. There was something I had been studying in God’s Word and I felt He had opened this thing up so clear to my understanding. I was so excited about what I’d found. I got out my laptop and hurriedly began typing the things I’d found to mail to my Dad on my way to work. At the same time my wife was trying to have a conversation with me about something that seemed so trivial and unimportant, to me. My responses to her conversation were short but polite. I really wanted to get the typing done in time to drop it in the mail. After a few of my short answers my wife apparently saw I wasn’t very interested in the conversation and she said, “I think I’ll take a bath before you leave for work.” My mouth said, “oh ok,” but my mind was thinking, “now I might get to finish my typing.” Just then, the Holy Spirit laid it on me. “So you ignore and put off your wife who loves you  to share something I’ve opened to your understanding. Selah, Think About It.”

Tears filled my eyes and all of a sudden I had nothing in mind worth writing. I had grieved the Holy Spirit and my wife and I totally knew it. I put away my laptop, went in the bathroom to make small talk with my wife before leaving for work. It wasn’t enough to make things right in my heart though. My 40 minute drive to work was a tearfilled apology to God as He let me see a  selfish side of my character from His point of view.

On my way home from work in the morning about 5am, I stopped by Walmart. My wife woke up to a flowers, a mini assorted flavor cheese cake and a card with a sincere apology to her for what I’d done.

I probably wouldn’t have had to have done any of that for my wife and I to have moved on like nothing ever happened. But in a short moment of God turning up His Refining Fire, it left a mark in and on me where a crusty piece of dross had been scraped off. Was it all a setup by God in His effort to refine me by letting me see myself through His eyes and heart for a moment in time?

31 Then Jesus said to them, All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written: ‘I will strike the Shepherd, And the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’

But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee.” Peter answered and said to Him, “Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble.” Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.”
Matthew 26:31‭-‬34 NKJV

Was Peter Setup For Some Refining?

“Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, Against the Man who is My Companion,” Says the Lord of hosts. “Strike the Shepherd, And the sheep will be scattered; Then I will turn My hand against the little ones. And it shall come to pass in all the land,” Says the Lord , “ That two-thirds in it shall be cut off and die, But one –third shall be left in it: I will bring the one –third through the fire, Will refine them as silver is refined, And test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, And I will answer them. I will say, ‘This is My people’; And each one will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’ ”
Zechariah 13:7‭-‬9 NKJV

Don’t Despise The Process

And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord , Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.” If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He FOR OUR PROFIT, that We May Be Partakers of His Holiness.
Hebrews 12:5‭-‬10 NKJV

 

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