Refined in the Furnace
Psalm 66:10 & Isaiah 48:10
For you, O God, tested us; you refined us like silver. NIV
And then, later on, God says,
See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. NIV
One thing the Bible teaches very clearly is that God tests His people and the comparison that’s used many times in Scripture is that God tests us the same way as a silver refiner refines silver. In Bible times the way that a man did that was to place the silver in a metal container over the hottest possible fire and then, as the silver began to melt and bubble in the heat, the dross, the scum, the impurities would rise to the surface and he would skim them off as they rose up and he would go on skimming until there was no impurity left in the silver. And the test of that was that as he looked into the surface of the silver he could see his own face properly mirrored in the silver.
So that’s how God tests us in the furnace of affliction. The hotter the furnace, the more the impurities are brought to the surface. And God graciously skims them off with His great heavenly skimmer. He goes on with that skimmer until He sees His own image reflected in our lives. And then He knows the process of refining is successful and He takes us out of the furnace.