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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Deuteronomy 8:12-18 When you eat and are full, and build beautiful houses to live in, and your herds and flocks grow large, and your silver and gold multiply, and everything else you have increases, be careful that your heart doesn’t become proud and you forget the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery. He led you through the great and terrible wilderness with its poisonous snakes and scorpions, a thirsty land where there was no water. He brought water out of the flint rock for you. He fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your ancestors had not known, in order to humble and test you, so that in the end he might cause you to prosper. You may say to yourself, ‘My power and my own ability have gained this wealth for me,’ but remember that the Lord your God gives you the power to gain wealth, in order to confirm his covenant he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 “Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your city gates.“
Deuteronomy 1:2, 3 It is an eleven-day journey from Horeb to Kadesh-barnea by way of Mount Seir. In the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first of the month, Moses told the Israelites everything the Lord had commanded him to say to them.