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Sunday, February 2, 2014

More Refining

Earlier this week we looked at what the Word says about refining us, here and here.  This morning I was reading through Psalm 66 and was brought back to that topic.  That seems to happen a lot in my time with the Lord.  He tends to bring me back to the same thoughts from a different angle repeatedly.
The Lord is intentional about refining us to be like His Son.  Thoughts at DTTB.
Look at verses 10 and 11.  There is a literary device called particularization.  Particularization takes a general statement and breaks it down into its component parts.  To put it another way, it moves from the whole to the parts.  This seems to be what the Psalmist is doing in Psalm 66:10 – 11.  Look at what he says the Lord does to refine us:
  • Brought us into the net
  • Lay an oppressive burden on us
  • Make men ride over us
We typically do not view those types of things as positive.  Here the Psalmist says that these are intentional events that God uses to “bring us out to a place of abundance.”  Do not read that as earthly riches.  That may in some cases be part of it for some of us, but the real deal is the character of Christ worked into our lives.

The Psalmist reinforces his description of the refining by stating that, “we went through fire and water.”  There is another literary device, generalization.  It is the opposite of particularization.  Generalization moves from the parts to the whole.  Here the psalmist uses both.  I did some quick research on silver refining.  I am no metallurgist and welcome corrections to this, but what I found is that some processes of silver refining start with fire and end with water.  That being the case the Psalmist is moving from the whole to the parts and back to the whole to describe what God is intentionally doing to refine us.

So what?  We may be entangled in a difficult situation.  We may have an incredibly heavy load in our lives right now be it health, financial, family, whatever.  We may be in a situation where we are daily having to deal with unreasonable people to whom we are accountable.  The Psalmist, well actually the Holy Spirit through the Psalmist, tells us that none of that is an accident.  It is an intentional program by God to refine us; to make us like His son.

I need that reminder.  When things are tough.  When things are not working out, I need to remember that God is at work even if I do not see and understand it or like it very much.  He promises in Romans 8:28 to work all that out to the good for us.  The good is for us to be like Christ.  Not necessarily enjoyable in the process, but pays big dividends in eternity.  Truth be told, it pays dividends now, at least that is what Paul told Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:8.

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