The word pictures that the Scriptures sometimes use to describe God’s dealings with His people are vividly graphic. Both the prophets Zechariah and Malachi described Him as a Goldsmith or a Silversmith in His relationship with His chosen Nation.
“…this third I will bring into the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will test them as gold is tested. They shall call on My name and I will answer them. I will say, They are My people, and they shall say, the LORD is our God.” (Zech. 13:9)
“And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and He shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.” (Mal. 3:3)
Goldsmithing is the art of making jewelry or other precious objects from gold. It is one of the oldest arts. Ancient goldsmiths were skilled at shaping and soldering gold as early as 3500 B.C. The oldest examples of goldsmithing come from Egypt and Mesopotamia. Today, goldsmithing is part of the jeweler’s art. But methods of making gold objects have changed little.
The value of gold owes much to its physical properties of beauty, softness, resistance to chemicals, and density. Scientists describe gold as “ductile” because it can be drawn out into fine wire. They say it is “malleable”: because it can be hammered into thin sheets. It can be shaped into any form that is desired. After it is shaped, its resistance to rust and other chemical changes from the air keeps it from tarnishing.
Gold is used as a form of international money and, until recent years, most countries were on the gold standard, meaning that a stated amount of gold could be obtained for most paper money. Obviously, gold is a metal that is extremely valuable, and much gold is indicative of great wealth.
The last line of the third verse of last week’s poem is relevant to the thought this week about the Goldsmith: “I know, as He brought me in, so He surely will bring me out.” It is beautifully described again in this poem by an unknown author:-
He sat by a fire of seven-fold heat
As He watched by the precious ore,
And closer He bent with a searching gaze
As He heated it more and more.
He knew He had ore that could stand the test,
And He wanted the finest gold
To mold as a crown for the King to wear,
Set with gems with a price untold.
So He laid our gold in the burning fire,
Though we fain would have said Him “Nay!”
And He watched the dross that we had not seen
As it melted and passed away.
And the gold grew brighter and yet more bright;
But our eyes were so dim with tears,
We saw but the fire – not the Master’s hand -
And questioned with anxious fears.
Yet our gold shone out with a richer glow,
As it mirrored a Form above
That bent o’er the fire, though unseen by us,
With a look of ineffable love.
Can we think that it pleased His loving heart
To cause us a moment’s pain?
Ah, no! but He saw through the present cross
The bliss of eternal gain.
So He waited there with a watchful eye,
With a love that is strong and sure,
And His gold did not suffer a bit more heat
Than was needed to make it pure!
JOB understood and declared that, though the Lord had “BROUGHT HIM IN” to the trial, He would surely “BRING HIM OUT:” “But He knows the way that I take; when He has tried me, I SHALL COME FORTH AS GOLD.” And He did, triumphantly! (Job. 23:10)
PAUL reckoned “that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed…”(Rom. 8:18)
And PETER assured us “that the testing of your faith, being more precious than gold that perishes, though it is proved by fire, may be found unto praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:7)
Dr. Stuart Holden tells of visiting a factory in Northern England where costly china was being made. What interested him most was the painting on the finished product. “It had been through many different processes, and was taken to the studio for the artists to complete. I saw the pattern being put on in various colors, and noticed that a great deal of black was being used. On asking why, I was told, ‘It is black now, BUT IT WILL BE GOLD WHEN IT COMES OUT OF THE FIRE!’ Is not this just as in our lives? What is put on black, we do not recognize as gold at the time, and the thing which is gilding our lives is very often put on in darkness and blackness.”
“Though you have lain among the pots, yet shall you be as the wings of a dove, covered with silver and her feathers with yellow gold.” (Psalm 68:13)
WAIT FOR GOD’S “AFTERS!”
“Now the God of all HOPE fill you with all JOY and PEACE in the believing,
that you may abound in HOPE
through the power of the Holy Spirit.”
In Agape, Eulene