Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The Joy of the Refining Fire

You know how when singing those old hymns with a lot of verses, the verses near the end but not the last verse are often skipped? We sang "How Firm a Foundation, Ye Saints of the Lord" on Sunday morning and included the fith verse. For some reason the last phrase about the dross and the gold in verse five jumped out at me.
Verse 5

"When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
My grace, all-sufficient, shall be thy supply.
The flames shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.

It had been a while since I thought about the ancient process of separating the dross (impurities) from the valuable metal. Here are some references to “dross” from the NIV:

Psalm 119:119 All the wicked of the earth you discard like dross; therefore I love
your statutes.

Proverbs 25:4Remove the dross from the silver, and out comes material for the

Isaiah 1:22Your silver has become dross, your choice wine is diluted with

Isaiah 1:25I will turn my hand against you; I will thoroughly purge away your dross
and remove all your impurities.

Ezekiel 22:18"Son of man, the house of Israel has become dross to me; all of them
are the copper, tin, iron and lead left inside a furnace. They are but the
dross of silver.

Ezekiel 22:19Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: 'Because you have all
become dross, I will gather you into Jerusalem.

I was also lead to this portion of the Bible which assures us that we as Christians will suffer trials but through them we’ll be stronger or “refined.”

1 Peter 1:6-8 (New International Version)
6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,

Back from a Long Blogging Hiatus

I am hopefully back from a long blogging hiatus.  Things just got a little crazy for a couple of weeks at work and at home.  I spent a lot of extra mental energy at work for a couple of weeks on a special project.  It was fun and I learned a good bit while I was at it but it suffocated my blogging-related brain cells.  I also spent numerous weekend hours braving the June and July heat in Nashville to scratch a couple of items off my “honey do list.”  These items were however only belatedly off the list as I was reminded “if you’d done it earlier in the year it wouldn’t have been so hot.”  Also during this time I have been trying to take better care of myself and get some much needed exercize on weeknights.  Put those three things together and you have very few discretionary hours left for blogging.  Surely, I am not the only blogger to have this problem?