By Pastor Tracy Lunceford
Five year old Daniel was standing at the entrance of his Father’s workshop. He curiously surveyed the room, taking note of the equipment. The first thing he noticed is that the room was hot …. very hot. In the center of the room, there was a large furnace. There was a large opening close to the base of the furnace into which Uncle Zeke was placing wood. Not far to the side of that was a large bellow that Uncle Jude was manning …. and when Daniel’s dad would cry out, “More heat!”, Uncle Jude would start pumping up and down on that bellow. Midway up the side of the furnace, there was an opening in which he watched his dad slide a crucible full of rock pieces into the furnace. The final two openings in the furnace were directly opposite each other, and they acted as windows into the furnace. Daniel’s dad was standing watch at one of the windows.
“Watcha doin’, Dad!?” Daniel shouted out over the roar of the flames.
Startled at hearing such a young voice in his shop, Daniel’s father looked up and saw his son in the doorway. “Daniel, my boy! So you want to start learning our family’s business. Wonderful!
Daniel’s dad picked him up and placed Daniel on a stool so he could look in the window on the opposite side of the furnace. “Don’t get any closer than this, my boy. Now look through the window and tell me what you see.”
As his dad walked back to ‘his’ window, Daniel stated, “I see a pot full of rocks down there …. and a whole lot of fire. I didn’t think rocks could burn. Watcha doin’?”
“Those are not just any rocks, my son. Those stones contain large amounts of silver”
“Silver!? Those aren’t silver, Dad. ….. they’re ugly and dull. Silver is shiny and beautiful.”
“And valuable”, Daniel’s dad added. “Trust me, son, that is silver.”
“But why do you have it in the furnace? Do you have to bake it so it becomes shiny?”
Daniel’s dad grins as he peers through his window, ” Not exactly. What we do is refining. We take something that is valuable …. like gold or silver ….. and we take out the impurities that are in the metal. When we’re done, the metal is precious and pure, ready to be used for noble purposes. This silver that we are refining today will be used in the Temple of our God that King Solomon is building. “
“Wow”, Daniel shouted as he continued watching through the window. “Dad, ….LOOK! The rocks are melting! It’s too hot! You’ve ruined the silver.”
Daniel’s dad smiled, “No, my boy, everything is fine. The silver has to be liquefied in order to get rid of the dross. Look, Daniel ….. do you see those black dots and scum on the top of the liquid? That’s dross ….. and that’s what needs to be burned off. Now watch it closely”
Daniel and his dad quietly watched as the fire gradually burned away the dross. Then, it happened. The liquid silver became as clean and smooth as a mirror.
Daniel’s dad saw that his son’s eyes were fixed on the beauty of the purified silver. “Daniel, look into the center of the silver. What do you see?”
“Silver?” Daniel answered quickly. But as he stared more intently, his eyes brightened as he exclaimed, “Dad, I can see YOU looking through the other window!” The windows’ angle was such that they could each see the other’s reflection through the molten silver.
” I know I have finished my work when I can see my reflection in the silver.
“See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction” (Is.48:10) As our God finds His children more precious in His sight than silver or gold, in order to be used effectively in His service, He will often remove the dross from our lives. The process will likely be uncomfortable. The good news is, when we are purified, God indeed will see Himself and His Son in us. And that is ALL we should desire.