"The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the Lord tests hearts." (v3)
When I think about crucibles and furnaces I think about the refining qualities of heat and fire. Silver and gold are purified by fire. We are also tested and refined by the fires of affliction and trial. And through these fires we come to understand who we really are as all of the bad stuff comes to the surface and is skimmed away by the Lord. Trials have a way of stripping off all of our religious clothing leaving us standing clothed in the God's armor alone.
Following are a few of the crucibles and furnaces that God uses in His refining process:
- "An evildoer listens to wicked lips, and a liar gives ear to a mischievous tongue." (v4)
Our ears and our lips often reveal the strength of our hearts. So often our flesh speaks and hears because it is stronger than our heart.
- "Whoever mocks the poor insults his Maker; he who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished." (v5)
Our attitudes about poverty and tragedy can expose the pride in us. Humility understands that true wealth is not found in money and calamity can befall us all.
- "Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends." (v9)
Unforgiveness like nothing else shows how strong our flesh can be. In a very short term it can turn into bitter gossip. We strengthen our heart with love when we forgive an offense.
- "If anyone returns evil for good, evil will not depart from his house." (v13)
A person filled with ingratitude will turn on the one who does them good and reveals much about the weakness of their heart.
- "A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity." (v17)
Adversity tests our friendship and our love. A strong heart loves when adversity comes but a weak heart gives way to the flesh.
- "A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones." (v22)
Absolutely one of my favorite verses in scripture. Keeping our joy in the midst of trial and suffering is evidence of a strong heart.. and a strong heart is good medicine.
Please click here to catch some of my other ponderings on the book of Proverbs.