Daily D – Zechariah 13:9
Zechariah 13:9 “This third I will put into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.’” (NIV)
Where in your life could you use a bit of refinement? If God were answering this question, what would he say?
Twice yesterday, at least, points of refinement were revealed to yours truly. One moment occurred before leaving the house for the commute to work. The other occurred near the end of the day when all of my words were used up and I needed some quiet time before bedtime. It is sad to be this many years old and realize Philippians 1:6 is not only real but necessary.
Honest men and women will no doubt agree wholeheartedly. The points of refinement may differ, but the need is there. Let us all exhale a sympathetic sigh.
That’s the bad news.
The good news is this: God is still working on us. He is refining us, shaping us, turning us ever more into the beautiful masterpiece of his unique styling. Add Ephesians 2:10 to our verses on God’s refining work and purpose.
Here is a bit more good news: It is in those broken places of our lives where God does what only God can do to bring beauty out of the brokenness. (See Makoto Fujimara’s modern masterpiece, _Art + Faith: A Theology of Making_. His website and examples of his artwork can be found here: [https://bit.ly/3SeZlcC])
Holding our month-old granddaughter yesterday, I sat in wonder at her beauty and perfection. Her placid nature. Her gentle smile. Her eyes gathering all the wonder in the room. Her inclination to adore those who adore her even more.
Somehow God loves us even more than we love our little ones. He loves us as we are and loves us so much he refines us day by day, moment by moment, so that we reflect his glory better and better so that others may be drawn to his love, his grace, his mercy, and his kindness.
Holding babies is refining, isn’t it? It makes us want to be better. Better providers, protectors, role models, and great adventure guides. I really, really like this kind of refining.
At the end of the day, into the night, and past my bedtime, I sat with a group of leaders who do quite interesting things in their work. My lagging energy led me firmly into the introversion side of my life and it wasn’t long before my iPhone and I were keeping steady company in a row of seats all by ourselves. No complaints there. There was a lot of information to consume and stuff to learn.
Truth be told, I would have left the old ballgame a couple of innings earlier than I did if two people had not sat next to me and blocked the path of egress. On the way to the parking lot and the drive home, I recalled hearing a borderline introvert like myself tell how he takes a nap in the afternoon if he has an important meeting at night. Otherwise, he will not have the energy for the conversation and attention demanded of him.
I should have napped yesterday. I am already plotting a nap at noon for lunch today. My bride traveled to San Antonio yesterday and returns this evening. She deserves focused attention as she tells her tales of wild adventure like discovering her traveling companion got bumped up to First Class for the trip home while she herself got bumped off the flight. Ah, the glamor of air travel!
What refinement do you require? How well do you cooperate with our Father in heaven’s molding, shaping, forming hand? When will you schedule your next nap?
I will comply with God’s continuing work to shape me into something that displays his glory.
Our Father, mold me, shape me, fill me, use me. I am yours. Refine me according to your pattern and purpose. Amen.
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Jonah 4:2, 3 So he complained to the Lord about it: “Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, Lord? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people. Just kill me now, Lord! I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen.”
Joel 2:12, 13 That is why the Lord says, “Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish.”
Hosea 14:8, 9 “O Israel, stay away from idols! I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you. I am like a tree that is always green; all your fruit comes from me.” Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those with discernment listen carefully. The paths of the Lord are true and right, and righteous people live by walking in them. But in those paths sinners stumble and fall.”