Proverbs 17:3: “The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the Lord tests hearts.”
A crucible is a container that is used to melt metal on a furnace. A crucible for silver would usually be made of clay/graphite, and would have to withstand extremely high temperatures, possibly ranging from 1800 – 2500 degrees Fahrenheit. In the process of refining these precious metals, the impurities float to the surface as “dross” where they can be removed. The extreme heat makes the precious metals better – richer, and even more pure.
The Lord does test our hearts (1 Chronicles 29:17), for He looks upon man in a different way than other men do (1 Samuel 16:7). And James tells us that we should “count it all joy” when we encounter trials (James 1:2-4). So what do we do when those times of trial seem too much to bear?
Ahhh… that’s the part that is most difficult to accept, at least it is for this blogger. Let’s look closely at what James says in verses 5-8:
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”
Most of my life, I have failed to put verses 5-8 together with verses 4-6. James is trying to tell us that if we do not know how to “let steadfastness have its full effect,” if we do not seem to be able to cope -to stand the heat, we should ask for God to give us the wisdom to do so. He has promised to give it “without reproach.” And God always keeps His promises. That means He does not disapprove of our asking for it. He will not chastise us for our weakness, nor will he belittle us for any ineptitude on our part. But we must ask with faith, not just believing, but knowing that God will deliver that wisdom to us. That is the kind of faith for which I must continually pray. I am still working on it.
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog. All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility. When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com. For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.