He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; He will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the Lord will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness – Malachi 3:3
God’s goal for every redeemed soul this side of heaven is spiritual purity and growth. He longs to cleanse us of those spiritual “germs” that ultimately would rob us of purity. That’s why our faith is sometimes “tried with fire” as Peter suggests in 1 Peter 1:7, “These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed.”
Indeed, God is ever drawing us closer to the fire of His purifying essence so we would be more like Him. And surely there is much within the nature of us all that needs purifying!!
All have sinned and come short of the glory of God as we read in Romans 3:23. And even after we’ve surrendered our lives to Christ, there are frequent reminders that each of us is human. Most can identify with the bumper sticker that reads, “Lead me not into temptation. I can find it for myself!” I’m sure all committed Christians would agree: We need a cleansing, purifying agent to help us grow. And in Jesus’ name, our Refiner and Purifier, we will find this agent!
KNOWING THIS NAME
It is Malachi who paints a picture of our Lord, a Refiner and Purifier. He gives this description in a prophecy meant to deal with complaining people who had forgotten God’s faithfulness. This scene from the final book of the Old Testament is one of stagnation. It is a scene revealing people who are accustomed to being around godliness, but unwilling to grow up. Yet, amid this picture of a passive people who resist the correction of the Lord, God’s promise rings out: “The Lord… will suddenly come to His temple!” – Malachi 3:1. George Frideric Handel used this scripture in one of the pieces in his epic oratorio Messiah. He declares that a visitation of His presence is coming, and it will be as purging and purifying as when a refiner works with precious metals. The prophecy proclaims, “He will be like refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap” – Malachi 3:2. In short, the Lord committed Himself to work with a people who would allow Him to grow them up! And now, as then, He seeks saints who are willing to permit Him to refine their character as well as purify their lives.
LIVING THIS NAME
The two images presented in this title of our Lord, fire and soap warmly invite our trust and gently urge us to let the Lord have His way in our lives – all day long, not just in the prayer closet. We need to live in the dual reality that Christ is our Refiner and Purifier.
First, the figure of a launderer’s soap brings to mind the everyday process of washing clothes. We’ve all watched what happens when we put clothing in the water, add soap, and then start the washer. Given time, the mere presence of the soap will penetrate and cleanse the clothing.
Second, the image of a metal refiner in Malachi 3:3 depicts our Lord’s gentleness. The soap works with strength; the refiner works with sensitivity. Metal, even such precious substances as gold and silver, is refined by removing the impurities. This is done by melting the metal. As a result of the melting, the impurities (or “dross”) rise to the surface. Then the refiner carefully draws this dross off the top, patiently working until a perfect, mirrorlike quality exists on the surface of the molten metal. If too much temperature is applied, the metal will burn; if too little, all the impurities will not be removed. Thus the finest refiner is the one who sensitively applies just enough heat to complete the task, and who exercises all the patience needed to remove each impurity until the clarity of the surface literally mirrors the image of the refiner.
PRAYING THIS NAME
Although God’s purifying power works continuously, it is during prayer that we become quietly conscious of its full reality. When we pray in Jesus’ name, our Refiner and Purifier, we sensitize our awareness to the gentle “searchings” of the Holy Spirit, allowing Him to surface these secret sins during prayer. Never be afraid to allow the Lord, through your prayers, to burn away that which hinders His glory from reflecting through you. Let’s petition God today for a new transparency in Jesus’ name, our Refiner and Purifier.
Lord Jesus Christ, today I want to live in the resources of Your personal ministry as my Refiner and Purifier. I choose to allow You to grow me up! Right now, I openly expose those places where sin infests my thoughts, my habits, my living. I not only ask for Your forgiveness, I invite Your presence like cleansing soap. Launder my soul, my mind – today. And Lord, wherever the fire of refinement needs to be brought to bear upon my being, I open to Your gentle ministry. Remove all dross. Take out whatever cheapens the treasured quality of Your eternal workings in me. And, dear Saviour, don’t stop until Your image can be seen. For I pray this in Your name, my Refiner and Purifier. Amen
HALLOWING THIS NAME
- Holy – Isaiah 6:3; 57:15
- Holy and Reverend – Psalm 111:9
- Holy and True – Revelation 6:10
- Holy One and the Just – Acts 2:27; 3:14
- Holy One of Israel – Isaiah 49:7
- Jehovah-Mekaddishkem (The Lord Our Sanctifier) – Leviticus 20:8
- Jesus Christ the Righteous – 1 John 2:1
- Lamb without Blemish – 1 Peter 1:19
Source: Excerpted with permission from the book “Living & Praying In Jesus’ Name” by Dick Eastman & Jack Hayford, from which we will be sharing some more of the names of Jesus.
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