“Take away the dross from the silver, and there shall come forth a vessel for the finer.” Proverbs 25:4
Dross is the refuse mixed in with the pure. It is separated out from the precious through heat and fire. Sin is our refuse, the baser elements that defile, defame and eventually render us useless and unacceptable in the kingdom of God.
We are the silver and the fire we are subjected to is the trials, tribulations and temptations in life. The heat and pressure applied exposes the sin within and causes it to separate from us. The separation process tends to be painful. Silver melted in a cauldron makes the dross float to the top where it can be skimmed away.
The adversities in life are the flame and heat. The cauldron is the specific point in time in which they occur. We are the silver. The heat applied is not punishment for the dross within the silver. The heat applied by God is to perfect the silver. Notice that after the imperfections have been removed that the silver is now called a vessel, a vessel for the finer.
A vessel is something made complete. It is something that is now made useful, an agent and implement of the refiner God. It is an instrument made by God, for God. That is God’s intention for each of us.
We all are given the opportunity to refine ourselves, to rid ourselves of the dross of the sin within.
“Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance” (Matthew 3:8) was the cry of John the Baptists. Getting people to reach inside of self and identify and separate the dross from the silver was John’s purpose. Why?
“But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.” Malachi 3:2-3
No one can “abide the day of his coming” without repenting. We can repent of our sins now and realize that we have a Savior, sent to wash us of our sins. If we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior then we can become, “a vessel for the finer” and be able to, “abide the day of his coming”
But refining does not always come through adversity.
“As the fining pot for silver, and the furnace for gold; so is a man to his praise.” (Proverbs 27:21)
Praise can uplift and edify. It can strengthen those weary in life and in the battle with sin. Praise can add patience to wait and add patience to endure almost any adversity. But sin can pervert praise in the worst way especially if praise only strengthens pride within.
“Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.” (Luke 6:26)
“Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 16:18
The devil and sin are the epitome of pride and selfishness. God uses pain and pleasure, adversity and advantage, wealth and poverty to refine his silver into a complete vessel.
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