God REFINES us so that we will GLORIFY HIM in our LIVES
July 31 Bible Reading: Isaiah Chapters 46-48
"Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. For My own sake, for My own sake, I will do it; for how should My name be profaned? And I will not give My glory to another." (Isaiah 48:10-11)
This message is addressed to the house of Jacob, which includes the people of Judah. They are criticized for calling on God’s name but refusing to live by His laws. For His own sake however, God promises to end their exile. He will refine them, not like silver in literal fire, but in the furnace of affliction (the Babylonian captivity). Then, God will restore them for His own name’s sake—a name that has been profaned by them. However, God will not share the credit for this restoration with their idols that they have been serving for so long!
Thus we are reminded here that even God’s acts of judgment are ultimately tempered with His acts of mercy. The reason why God allowed His people to go through the Babylonian captivity (1:22, 25; 4:4; Ezek. 22:18–22) was that they would finally emerge from their afflictions without their sin stains, and that they would reflect God’s glory and greatness among the people of their world. Thus, this act of God is ultimately a celebration of divine mercy. Though they deserve to be obliterated from the face of the earth, nevertheless, God seeks to refine them and not cut them off!
In our own lives, it is natural that we desire glory and adulation for all our accomplishments. At these times, God allows us to go through suffering and problems so that we understand clearly that all glory and honor belongs to God alone. God’s acts of mercy in our lives are His own initiative, springing from the depths of His mercy (37:35; 42:21; 43:25) as He wants to protect His own name and reputation. God says clearly: “I will not yield my glory to another”. God will not share His glory with anyone down here on earth and up there in heaven!
So, it is important that we do not absorb any glory that we receive due to our accomplishments. Rather, as shining pure silver and gold, we should reflect all glory to God alone as Paul and Barnabas did in Acts 14:15. Let us be reflective of our current situation, so that we develop the same attitude of the patriarch Job, who declared: "But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold." (Job 23:10)
God does not want us to perish but only refined so that we always glorify Him through our lives. If we resist, the fire of affliction will burn us and make us hard; if we submit, the fire will purify us and make us tender. Let us submit ourselves to the refining work of God today, so that everything we do – by word, by deed or by lifestyle – will please God and ultimately reflect His glory alone before others!