But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold (Job 23:10, ESV).
Job knew suffering. This one man absorbed more pain than most of us ever have to imagine. In a single day, Job lost his wealth and all ten of his children. Then he was stripped of his health and honor. Did he have anything left? Sure, a bitter wife who advised him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die” (Job 2:9) and a handful of self-righteous friends who were “miserable comforters” (16:2).
Yet Job clung to God, saw past the trial, and by faith declared, “But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold” (23:10). Refining hurts, but the result: pure gold. Trials draw sin out of our lives, as illustrated in this picture of the refining process. Allow me to give you a little lesson in Gold 101.
First, when gold is being refined, it must be melted. Gold ore is mixed with other metals and impurities when it comes out of the ground. So the goldsmiths crank up the furnaces to 1064ºC (degrees Celsius), the temperature at which gold melts.
The second process is binding. Once the gold is molten, the goldsmiths mix in a special flux to make it more fluid and to bind the impurities together. Then, when they pour the gold into a mold, the impurities, called slag, rise to the top.
Lastly, they separate it. After the gold has cooled, the slag is broken off, and the steps are repeated— sometimes multiple times for greater purity. This process hasn’t changed significantly in thousands of years. Technology hasn’t improved it. God has given us a lasting illustration of His methods with us.
This process of refining gold is what filled Job’s mind as he wrote those words: “when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold.” Job’s trials were refining him. Your trials are refining you. Do you feel the heat? Do you see the slag rising to the top? The biblical word for slag is sin, and it’s what makes you restless, miserable, fearful, and selfish. Is God drawing the impurities in your life to the surface?
When some people go into the furnace of affliction, it burns them; when others go in, the experience purifies them. If you submit to the Lord, as painful as the crisis may be, your suffering will refine you and make you better. If you resist what God is doing, the furnace will only scorch you.
If the trial is making your faith purer and stronger, if you have not grown bitter toward the Lord but are loving Him more, then no doubt about it, you “shall come out as gold.”
• When some people go into the furnace of affliction, it burns them; when others go in, the experience purifies them. What’s the difference?
• What trial are you enduring? How are you responding—resisting or submitting? Growing bitter or better?
God, You are a Master Refiner. You use the pain in my life to purify me. Please draw the sin out of my life, and help my faith to grow stronger. Please don’t let me grow bitter. I want to love You more. The refining process hurts, Lord, I admit it. But the reason I can trust You is because You love me, so I know You want what’s best for me, and You see that far more clearly than I do. I entrust myself into Your hands that I may “come out as gold” for the glory of Your Son, Jesus my Redeemer, in whose name I pray, amen.
— James MacDonald
For more from James MacDonald and the “Walk in the Word” Bible teaching ministry, visit WalkInTheWord.com.