September 10-11, 2016
IGNITE CLASS 10
Inductive Bible Study (IBS)
Refiner and Purifier
2 “But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like launderers’ soap. 3 He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer to the Lord an offering of righteousness.” – Malachi 3:2-3 (NKJV)
The words spoken in these verses come as a part of a prophecy the Lord has given to Malachi about the coming Savior. Verse one tells of John the Baptist coming as the messenger before Christ, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord…” (Isa. 40:3) What strikes me though is the statement made in verse two regarding Christ: “For He is like a refiner’s fire and like launderers’ soap.” This is a powerful analogy describing the cleansing Jesus does in those who follow Him. Looking back at my life in recent weeks, incredible evidence of this can be seen taking place in my life deeper than I have ever experienced.
It is interesting the two items used to describe this, and what their functions are. A refiner’s fire firstly produces heat. Although I have never actually witnessed the actual refining process of gold and silver, I have had experience with some farrier (horseshoeing) forge work, as well as some jewelry metalsmithing. One of the coolest things ever is to apply intense heat to metal. For different metals it takes different temperatures, but the primary goal of heating is to make the metal moldable. Be it a steel horseshoe or a brick of gold, it is almost always more difficult to shape when hard and unyielding, and a piece of metal is nearly useless unless it able to be shaped. The same is true with my heart: if I do not yield and soften to the will of the Lord, then He cannot shape me in to who He wants me to be, and thus I am worthless for furthering His plan. Speaking specifically of gold and silver, heat plays an even greater role in the process of refinement. High heat turns these precious metals from solid to liquid, and it is in this state that the most crucial stage takes place. Only in the liquid form is refiner able to purify the metal, because without intense heat impurities that may be settled on the bottom will not surface. It is also only from a molten piece of metal that a jeweler can take and pour it into a beautiful form.
Launderers’ soap is a cleaning agent. The first thing that comes to mind when I think of laundry soap is the removing of stains and brightening of colors. Why soap works the way it does, is because its molecular makeup is capable of bonding to foreign objects and, as an abrasive, cause them to loosen from the what they are attached to. It is just like how Christ’s blood washes over us as believers and removes all stains, as written in Hebrews 9:13-14, 13 “For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, 14how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”
These are the conditions in which Malachi 3:3 continues to define our King of Kings: “He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer to the Lord an offering of righteousness.” I am able to take hope in this, and that despite the valleys to come, I can “2…count it all joy when ‘I’ fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of ‘my’ faith produces patience.” God has, is, and will continue to purge, purify, and refine me more into His likeness so that I, just as a son of Levi, can offer my life as a living sacrifice of righteousness to Him.
Application: I will share this IBS with my roommates, and discuss with them the things God has refined in me.