Thursday, January 27, 2011


     This third I will bring into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold.  They will call on my name and I will answer them: I will say, "they are my people", and they will say, "The Lord is our God."
                                                                                               Zechariah 13:9   NIV)


Zechariah by Michaelangelo
      The book of Zechariah has so "3:16".  The awesome verse quoted above refers to purification.  Refining.  As in strengthening as well as beautification of precious metal by placing them in the fire...
     The prophet Zechariah wrote this book of fourteen chapters to encourage his people to put off their sinful ways, and to accept refining and purification through the observance/obedience of God's law.  Zechariah foretold of the coming Messiah and of the coming of a renewed covenant through the Messiah.  He urged the "faithful remnant, which was approximately one-third of the Jews, to remain pure and obedient.  He encouraged this remnant to continue building God's temple - because this was God's plan.
     As is often (probably always!) the case, Zechariah's prophecy was for his time AND for the future. Zechariah also foretold of Christ's second coming.  The second coming will occur after the temple is rebuilt once again. We today need that same refining and purification that Zechariah wrote about thousands of years ago. Purification and obedience are still God's plan.  Why is it that we want so badly the rewards of salvation, yet balk at the purification process?

       When metal is refined in the fire, it comes out shinier, purer, and more precious with each step.  If you feel as if you've "been through the fire" lately, perhaps you are being refined.  You will come out stronger and more valuable every step of the way, until, finally, God will pull you out of the fire and you will be so pure that He will see Himself reflected in you.  This is His plan.

      God's  message to His people through Zechariah was "Trust me; I have a plan.  THE  PLAN.  Continue building the temple.  I need you to build the temple."  The great temple prophesied about for Israel has not yet been built.  But, there is another temple... And, where is that temple?  "Don't you know that you yourselves  are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him, for God's temple is sacred, and you are that temple." (I Corinthians 3:16,17)  We should be encouraging one another - not criticizing.  We should be building - not tearing down.

     Two sure methods of destroying a building are to mess with the foundation and to make the building with inferior materials.  The Church must have Christ the Messiah as its foundation, and each member must be willing to go through the refining process so as to be the best he can be.   I heard a preacher say recently, "Jesus told us that we would be like sheep among wolves.  If there aren't any wolves in your life, maybe you're not really a sheep."  The wolves of life... stress, financial worries, sickness, strife... are part of the refining process. Work at coming out of the fire with a pure heart and a renewed spirit.

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