Moment in the Word
Fri, 12/02/2022 - 1:11pm admin
Psalms 66:10 For thou, O God, hast proved us; thou hast tried us with fire as silver is tried. (Ps.65:10 - Brenton's 1851 Greek Septuagint)
Reading the Psalmist's statement, I am reminded of my uncle who was a metallurgist for Keystone Steel and Wire in the state of Illinois. With every new batch of molten metal, Gene took a sample to test the material's strength. The analysis was crucial for public safety and the company's integrity. Just think what might have happened to skyscrapers, massive bridges, long railroads, big ships and deep submarines if no one tested the product first!
There is an old W. B. Stevens' song whose first verse begins, "Tempted and tried we're oft made to wonder..." Although the beginning lyric mentions a perplexing, unpleasant circumstance, yet the hymn actually deals with two totally different situations.
Temptations lead us to sin, but trials are meant to bring us closer to God. Here is the reason Scripture says, "No one experiencing temptation should say, 'I am being tempted by God'; for God is not subject to temptation to evil, and he himself tempts no one." James 1:13
But Psalms 66:10 clearly notes that God reserves the right to test and try us. In fact, David continued by saying, "Thou broughtest us into the snare; thou laidest afflictions on our back. Thou didst mount men upon our heads; we went through fire and water..." Psalms 66:11-12 (Ps.65:11-12 - Brenton's 1851 Greek Septuagint)
Similarly, God spoke to Zechariah about a small remnant in Israel, "And I will bring the third part through the fire, and I will try them as silver is tried, and I will prove them as gold is proved: they shall call upon my name, and I will hear them, and say, This is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God." (Zechariah 13:9 - Brenton's 1851 Greek Septuagint)
Undeniably, we see that the Holy Spirit was instrumental in testing God's Son following Jesus' baptism by John in the River Jordan, "Immediately the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness... Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. (Mark 1:12, Matthew 4:1)
Although a very small distinction, God did not tempt His Son, but He forced him into a situation where Satan did!
Likewise, the Almighty invited hardship on the godly man Job during two different encounters, "And the Lord said to him (Satan), 'Hast thou diligently considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a man blameless, true, godly, abstaining from everything evil?'" (Job 1:8 - Brenton's 1851 Greek Septuagint) And again, "The Lord said to the devil, 'Hast thou then observed my servant Job, that there is none of men upon the earth like him, a harmless, true, blameless, godly man, abstaining from all evil? and he yet cleaves to innocence, whereas thou hast told me to destroy his substance without cause?'" (Job 2:3 - Brenton's 1851 Greek Septuagint)
But why... for what purpose?
Both David and Zechariah used the allegory of silver and gold being purified in the refiner's fire. But St. Peter added another subtle detail, "Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed." (1 Peter 4:12-13)
Did you see it? Look again.
Just like God's Son, we are tested so our imperfect nature is burned away to reveal Jesus' glory in us! Thus, after the fiery trial is finished, the remaining part is Heaven's spiritual gold and silver in the likeness of Christ. Consequently, the apostle said we should not be surprised by thinking the process is strange.
Akin to individual trials, the universal Church will also face a fiery test during the Great Tribulation, and in the end believers will have "washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb" to appear "without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish... holy and without fault." (Revelation 7:14, Ephesians 5:27)
Daniel described that period of hardship prior to the final resurrection, "And at that time Michael the great prince shall stand up, that stands over the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of tribulation, such tribulation as has not been from the time that there was a nation on the earth until that time: at that time thy people shall be delivered, even every one that is written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to reproach and everlasting shame." (Daniel 12:1-2, Brenton's 1851 Greek Septuagint)
Echoing the same message of David, Zechariah, Peter, Paul, John, and others; Daniel defined the spiritual benefit of the difficult trial God will send, "And the wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and some of the many righteous as the stars for ever and ever." (Daniel 12:3, Brenton's 1851 Greek Septuagint)
After the final test, the Psalmist noted God's promotion for those who endured, "...but thou broughtest us out into a place of refreshment." Psalms 66:12 (Ps.65:12 - Brenton's 1851 Greek Septuagint)
So, hang on! Glory is ahead!