Summary: When in the fire, when in the desert- what do WE need to do to leave God free to act and deliver us?

“When I act….” Isaiah 43:1-13, Malachi 3:1-4. WBC 30/3/03 am

There was group of women in a Bible study group studying the book of

Malachi. As they were studying chapter three, they came across verse

three, which says: "He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver."

This verse puzzled the women and they wondered what this statement

meant about the character and nature of God. One of the women offered to

find out about the process of refining silver and get back to the group at

their next Bible study.

That week this women called up a silversmith and made an appointment

to watch him at work. She didn’t mention anything about the reason for

her interest in silver beyond her curiosity about the process of refining

silver. As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over

the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one

needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were

hottest to burn away all the impurities. The woman thought about God holding

us in such a hot spot - then she thought again about the verse, that he sits

as a refiner and purifier of silver.

She 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 man

answered 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 even a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed.

The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith,

"How do you know when the silver is fully refined?"

He smiled at her and answered, "Oh that’s easy. When I see my image in


-If today you are feeling the heat of this world’s fire, just remember

that God has His eyes on you.


There’s 2 promises and 1 reaction in this bit. The first promise is:

1) When you pass… walk through the water and fire

It’s a bit like fasting. Not IF you fast, but WHEN you fast

- it’s WHEN you walk and pass

I guess this is a promise of Scripture!

Acts 14:22 We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,

We are not spared testing, uncertain and difficult times as Christians

- in fact, we’re promised them

And we’re not to see them or receive them as useless, painful events

- rather: fire and water that purifies- events that make us look more like Jesus

o develop our souls

- or CAN develop our souls. (ie it’s a choice, can embitter us)

other promise is:

2) I WILL be with you

Do not fear.

I will be with you. I will never leave you or forsake you

- even if you feel it! (you, today?) cf Footprints?????

?One night a man had a dream.

He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the Lord.

Across the sky flashed scenes from his life.

For each scene he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,

one belonging to him, and the other belonging to the Lord.

When the last scene of his life flashed before him,

he looked back at the footprints in the sand.

He noticed that many times along the path of his life

there was only one set of footprints.

He noticed that it happened at the very lowest

and saddest times in his life.

This really bothered him and he questioned the Lord about it.

Lord, you said that once I decided to follow You,

You’d walk with me all the way.

But I have noticed that during the most troublesome

times in my life, there is only one set of footprints.

I don’t understand why, when I needed you most, you would leave me.

The Lord replied "My son. My precious child,

I love you and would never leave you.

During your times of trial and suffering,

when you see only one set of footprints,

it was then that I carried you." Author unknown

And the waves WILL NOT sweep over you and the fire will not harm you

= like 2Cor 10 “God will not give you more than you can endure”

- listen: you can… will be able to handle it. Whatever comes your way

- I know God won’t give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish He didn’t trust me so much. - Mother Teresa

2 promises- 1 reaction encouraged here:

- it’s not the reaction of the Israelites panicking as they cross the red sea

- or the disciples panicking in the boat during the storm

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