Day 212: Isaiah 48-50; Refiner's Fire

Sometimes knowing the reasons why you are going through the trouble that you are is helpful as you are persevering through it.  I imagine that if you know the good that is going to come from it, how you will be stronger and better for it on the other side might actually make it seem a bit more bearable at the time.  There are other times, however, in which I’m sure it doesn’t matter at all what the reasons are for the pain, but you may feel like the end certainly don’t justify the means.  We’ve all been there… and I think this is the situation that the Lord speak into here, giving reasons for the exile that the Israelites are in.  They are not simply being punished, though the punishment and judgment against them they certainly earned by their wickedness, they are also being refined.  Another word for this is ‘purified,’ like the process that metal goes through in a furnace, removing all impurities so that the strongest, highest quality product will come out.  Refinement is the purpose for their affliction, and the result, as God proceeds to show them, will be the sending of His servant to the world.

As Christians, we call this process Sanctification, the process by which we are being continually transformed into the image of God that we see in Christ Jesus.  This doesn’t always happen through pain and wilderness experiences, but also through every day life experiences in which that Spirit is at work within us.  Sometimes we are convicted for something that we shouldn’t have, or perhaps should have done.  Maybe we should have said something, or shouldn’t have.  Perhaps something that you read, witnessed, or heard impacted you in a very particular way.  It could be that you are just trying to make your way in life through the mundane day in and day our routine, trying to be the best you can be.  Even in this can the Spirit work to change and transform you.

Whatever the case may be, like Israel, the final goal of this refining (sanctification) that we go through is the restoration that God speaks of about Israel.  They do not go through this just as a way of punishment, God has a purpose for this time.  Why?  Because God has chosen them to be His people like He has chosen us to also be His people.  The mere fact that God is working on us shows us that He is not done with us, He has not given up on us, and He has great things in store for us that He is preparing us for.  It is the same with Israel in our reading today, preparing them for the coming of the Lord’s servant.  God’s people are in this process of being transformed and restored.  Even in this, God knows that the people won’t be perfect, that they will again falter, which is why God’s plan is to work through them to bring about the incarnation of Jesus.

This is true with us as well.  We are not sanctified through our own merits.  Again and again we, like the people of Israel, will fall back into sin.  Yet, like the people of Israel, we have a savior that has done a great thing for us by defeating sin and death once and for all!  He has done the work for us and continues to do the work for us through the Holy Spirit.  We may fall into sin time and again, but we are also living as forgiven people, a testament to the grace and love of God.  May we continue to live in the grace and love of God each and every day, continually being shaped and formed into His likeness through the Spirit.  Amen!


3 Responses to “Day 212: Isaiah 48-50; Refiner's Fire”

  1. lewis says:

    I agree with you, and thank you for your response. You are the only one out of everyone who has read it, that has brought this to my attention. I will explain later in the day what I was describing, if you don’t mind. I pray that you have a grace filled day. God bless.

  2. myrnafolkert says:

    Amen and Amen! We (I) am continually being transformed by the Holy Spirit’s power! It’s a life long process which is never done. I continue to desire to learn more and am amazed at how much the Spirit will work in me and through me, if I let Him.

    • Jon VanderWall says:

      It is amazing isn’t it? The best part is that even when we feel like we are closed to the Spirit’s work, He is still working on our hearts! What wonderful grace!

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