If you want to get rich, then this is the place to be – well, that’s if you lived in the 1880’s. Broken Hill, Australia’s oldest mining town is located in the far west of New South Wales in the Australian Outback. It’s known as Silver City, and rightly so. It’s situated on the richest deposit of silver, lead and zinc in the world.
In fact, since the discovery of these precious metals here in 1883, twenty thousand tons of silver and more than 50 million tons of lead and zinc have been extracted from the mines here. At one time, Broken Hill produced one third of the world’s silver.
Silver has been around forever, and people have always valued it. They learned to purify silver by heating it up to remove the dross and impurities so that they were left with 100 percent silver. Silver was the first metal to be used as currency.
In early Bible times ‘money’ just meant pieces of silver that were checked for purity with a touchstone and weighed out when a transaction was made. Later silver became the most widely used metal for coin making. Wealth was determined by how much silver you had.
The Bible mentions silver hundreds of times. The process of heating silver to burn off the dross and other imperfections is a metaphor used throughout Scripture. The purification process is used as a symbol for the way God tests and refines people. God is pictured as the silversmith or the refiner. Here’s what it says in Psalm 66:10: You have tested us, O God. You have refined us in the same way silver is refined” (Ps 66:10).
And here’s what it says in Malachi 3:2,3: “But who can endure the day of His coming?
And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire… He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify… And purge them as gold and silver…” (Malachi 3:2,3)
A man read this text and wondered what it meant about God being a refiner – a silversmith. So, he went and watched a silversmith at work. As he watched. the silversmith held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, you need to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames are hottest in order to burn away all the impurities.
The man thought about God holding us in such a hot spot. Then he thought again about the verse, “He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver.” He asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined.
The silversmith answered that, yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed.
The man was silent for a moment. Then he asked the silversmith, how do you know when the silver is fully refined? The silversmith smiled at him and answered, “Oh, that’s easy – when I see my image in it.” If you’re feeling the heat of the fire today, remember that God has His eye on you and will keep watching you until He sees His image in you.
No one likes those times when stress gets turned up, deadlines mount, and expectations seem unreachable. But sometimes God uses heat in our lives to burn off the stuff that’s holding us back and tying us down. We just need to trust God through the pain.
What’s got you tied up? What’s limiting you from being all God meant for you to be? God can use the trials in your life to eliminate what’s holding you back. God says in Isaiah 48:10, “I have refined you but not in the way silver is refined. Rather, I have refined you in the furnace of suffering” (NLT).
It’s highly unlikely you’ll literally go through a fiery furnace in your life, but you’ll go through the furnace of suffering many, many times. God will refine you with that fire. It’s like silver. When they heat it up, they get rid of impurities. Then you’re left with 100 percent silver. It’s the fire that does that.
If you’re feeling stressed and under pressure and would like to know more about God and the way He cares for us and refines us, then I’d like to recommend the free Bible reading guide we have for you today. It’s called, Does My Life Really Matter to God? Just go to our website, tij.tv to request your free gift now.