Pure As Gold
“But he knows the way I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold” – Job 23:10
The book of Job bothers most people because it never really addresses the issue of why people suffer. However, Job bothers me because it show us that God is more interested in our faith and the final, gold-like qualities of our life than He is in our comfort and pleasure.
God wants us all to come forth as gold. But why gold? Probably because it is such an interesting metal. 1.02 ounces of gold can be drawn into a wire 62 miles long. It conducts electricity, shields from heat and, because of its ability to reflect infrared light, it is used to control the temperature on satellites. NASA coats the visors of space suits with gold to afford them protection from the rays of the sun.
Gold is non-toxic if consumed, and chefs use it as a food decoration in the form of gold leaf. 1 ounce of gold can be beaten so thin that it covers 300 sq. ft. Gold is described as ductile because it can be drawn out into a fine wire and malleable because it is easily hammered into sheets. A goldsmith can shape it into any desired form, and it is resistant to rust, oxidation and tarnishing.
Gold is a marvelous substance for the countless ways it is shaped and used. However, before it can be used, it must be harvested, melted, purified and tested. Job understood what it took to make pure gold, and even so, he was willing to go through the process.
Contrary to many people’s theology and comfortable lifestyles, Scripture teaches us that God does desires to test us. The word “test” in this passage is a Hebrew word which means to examine, prove, and test (especially metals); to generally and figuratively investigate. What God is investigating is our purity, our faithfulness, our obedience to His commands. Job knew that when the testing was over he would shine like 24-carat gold.
Do you know when gold is pure? When the goldsmith can see his face reflected in the gold. This leads me to a very uncomfortable question: Does God see Jesus or Jim when He looks at my life?
The other part that bothers me is this: the real value of gold is never found in its native state. It is most valuable only after the goldsmith has fired, purified and shaped into something desired by the owner. Pure gold is malleable, workable, stretchable and easily purified. Am I? Am I malleable, workable and stretchable in the hands of my Creator? Do I willingly submit to the testing and purification process of God so He can form me and use me in any manner He sees fit? As the years go by, I do believe there is more of Jesus to see in my life and a bit less of Jim. I just didn’t really think the transformation would take so long.
One final thought. Gold is never precious to itself. It is only valuable to the One who owns it. I will never understand my ultimate value by looking at my self through my own eyes. Only when I see my self through the eyes of God will I understand my true value. Only when I see myself through the sacrificial love of Jesus do I begin to understand what God sees in me. Then, and only then, am I ready to say with Job, “When he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.”
Great post. Interesting fact that you can press gold thin enough to see through and it is still gold and holds together. It gets this unique characteristic at the atomic level.
The picture is nicely painted of us pressed thin during times of suffering for the purpose of letting Christ shine through. Thus allowing others to see Christ in us. I love the thought!
Gee, I never thought being pressed so thin that Christ shines through us. I was taught that when we’re pure the Goldsmith can see His face reflected in our life. I like your thoughts, too.
Ouch! “the real value of gold is never found in its native state. It is most valuable only after the goldsmith has fired, purified and shaped into something desired by the owner.”
Whining isn’t nearly as gratifying when I remember this truth! Do I want to be purified or do I want to be comfortable? Thanks for the encouragement.
You’re welcome for the encouragement. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your comments. They are always welcome.
Purity is a MAJOR in God’s eyes. Right? So, I’m doing a 90 day Bible read. I’m in Leviticus. It is all about, “do this. don’t do that. I am the Lord”. I’ve got a simple question that borderlines stupid, because I should have asked this question 50 years ago. Here goes…
Which rules in the old testament should I follow so as to remain pure? OR does it matter anymore with reference to God’s grace.
Everyone agrees we should follow the ten commandments, but why should we follow them anymore than we should not eat shrimp, vultures or whatever. How do we conveniently determine what rules to follow?
Great question. Jesus said he did not come to abolish the Law or the Prophets, but to fulfill them (Matt. 5:17). The Law and the Prophets means the entire Old Testament. But what is meant by the Law? This is what I came to learn by a study of the Sermon on the Mount, especially in a book by D. Martin Lloyd-Jones.
There were three areas of the Law in the Old Testament: the judicial, the ceremonial, and the moral. The moral law consisted of the Ten Commandments and the great moral principles that were given to us once and forever. The judicial law, or the legislative law, was given for Israel in particular at that time, enabling them to order their relationship to others and the things they were and were not to do. The ceremonial law concerned burnt offerings and sacrifices connected with the Tabernacle and the Temple. Having said that, we must now ask, “How did Jesus fulfill the Law?”
Jesus fulfilled the ceremonial law through His death, resurrection and ascension. The veil of the temple was split, and the temple later destroyed. Since Hebrews tells us Jesus died once for all, then we no longer follow the OT ceremonial law. The eating of certain foods falls into this category.
What about the judicial law? This was primarily for the nation of Israel, as God’s theocracy, in its then special circumstances. But Israel is no longer the theocratic nation. 1 Peter 2:9-10 says the Church is now the nation of God. Also see Matt. 21:43 in light of 1 Peter. Since there is no longer a single, geographically located theocratic nation of God, the judicial law has been fulfilled.
Now, what about the moral law? This is found in the first and greatest commandment, to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. This is a permanent law, as is the second — to love our neighbor as our self. This law was never meant just for the nation of Israel, but for the whole of mankind. Therefore, the moral law now stands as strong as it did in the OT.
As I’ve written this, Archie, I know it is making sense to you, because without comprehending it you already knew this to be true. This is why you understood the fact that the Ten Commandments still held true for today’s Christian, but we no longer need to sacrifice animals for our sin.
I hope this helps you as you work your way through Leviticus and the rest of Scripture.
Thanks Jim. I copied and posted to my blog. My thoughts are beginning to take shape. I figure Paul had a lot to say about old versus new.
I love this scripture. Thanks for your teaching on it. I have never commented before but have read from afar.
I loved your insight on the gold being pure when “goldsmith can see his face reflected in the gold”.
I am currently being “tested” in the refiners fire and realizing for the first time this is the only way, the perfect way, and the right way, for us to ever be able to adequately shed our impurities and reflect the image of Christ.
As my 10 year old son, CJ, battles cancer (diagnosed back in Sept with stage 3 lymphoma) I take comfort in knowing that……
“When God permits His children to go through the furnace, He keeps His eye on the clock, His hand on the thermostat. His loving heart knows how much and how long” Warren Wiersbe
Thanks for the great post and encouragement to those of us in the refiners fire.
Thanks for your post. When God looks at us he sees us as he created us. That’s what we’re individuals for. “Now you together are Christ’s body; but each of you is a different part of it” I Cor.12.27.
As we are refined, we reflect that gift of uniqueness back again ever more clearly. Isn’t that what theosis means?
“They are th the ones he chose specially long ago and intended to become true images of his Son, so that Son might be the eldest of many brothers” Rom 8:29. “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, with our unveiled faces reflecting like mirrors the brightness of the Lord, all grow brighter and brighter as we are turned into the image that we reflect; this is the work of the Lord who is Spirit” 2 Cor. 3:17-18.
This is one of the most profound things I have ever read. Reminds me of something that I have been discussing lately.
In trying to say this in the shortest way possible – God does not teach by precept – but by experience. We have to be careful what we ask for. The more we desire to be our very best person in terms of living a magnificient overall life, the more we will be tested as you say.
For instance if we need patience, the first thing God is going to do is allow us to be in a position to have to wait. There is no scripture or message that can teach us patience. We get it from having to wait and what our attitude is during the waiting reflects the level we will reach.
Humility – another trait has to be gained through experience of humbling ourselves when we would rather exalt ourselves,. our wills, have our say etc.
There are ways in which I have self protected all of my life and closed myself off from others emotionally when I am hurt. I am a pro at it cause i had to start doing it as a child. At the same time, I now know that God does not want me to self protect, because its not the best me.
Instead, I am to learn to be graceful and loving with an open heart even in the midst of pain suffering or rejection. I used to think it was godly for me to ignore my pain, but that just produces resentment and anger inside that will come to surface eventually. Recently I learned that I have to develop ways of releasing these pains in another form – not to merely ignore them as if they are not there – not to lash out at others.
This freedom for me personally has been a large part of my “gold” experience. I mean it’s just getting the ME out of me. That to me is true freedom. When I am afraid of no one and not controlled by selfish motivations. I can speak freely when need be and stand on the truth without ego or having something in my heart that says I am pontificating. Equally I can be silent when its necessary even when it doesn’t appear conventional. I can love and receive love with an open heart not asking anyone to be anything but human including the flaws that we all bring to the table.
This post is great – thank you so much for being the gift that you are brother. I can only imagine the gold experiences you have been through. I feel really blessed to have traded words and ideas with you.
You my friend are a blessing! I can’t even tell you how much.
Thanks for the kind words. It is always my hope that my teachings will have an impact, and comments like yours tells me that I am not writing in vain. I believe that when I am transparent with my struggles, I find like-minded people who are or have gone through similar things. As Solomon said, there is nothing new under the sun. You are in my prayers and you continue your walk with our Lord.
Thank you so much for this post, Jim — much appreciated!
I especially liked your point about being comfortable vs being tested and refined — which isn’t easy when we see so many comfortable people around us while we are suffering in our own ways (job woes, health, etc.).
This reminds me of a mail I received sometime back about Malachi 3:3 (where God is called the refiner and purifier of silver).
The mail mentions the silversmith as saying “I know that the purifying process is complete is when I can see my own image reflected in the silver.” This is common knowledge.
The mail goes on to quote the silversmith as saying, “But all during the purifying process, I need to be around it, without taking my eyes off it. Too much heat, and I can spoil the metal beyond repair. Hence I sit there, next to the fire (in the heat), as the silver is purified”.
We often tend to forget this. In all our trying situations, God is right there, bearing the burnt of every thing along with us. He is purifying us, but not from the comforts of His glorious throne. He is sitting there, right next to the purifying furnace, waiting to see His image reflected through us.
Great Post I can see so much depth to the concept of refining Gold as it relates to our relationship with God. Thank you very much.
You are welcome very much!
I’m confused as to why this scripture bothers you… Gold represents God’s deity, meaning we will come out of the hardest times of our life being more like Christ. People have this misconception that once they get saved everything will be easy street but if I never had to fight (spiritually) then I would walk around weak, giving the enemy the power to over take Me. Comfortable? Yes, God wants us to be both comfortable and happy, but Paul shares with us that no matter what state he was in, he learned to be content. We can’t be so caught up with the comforts of this world that we forget there’s a place of paradise prepared for the people of God.
One thing I love about this scripture in Job is that it is filled with hope. I may be in the fire but I WILL come out, and when I do, God is going to see more of his son Jesus in me. “count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations” (James 1:2-3).
I’m coming out of a very rough season right now as a matter of fact but one thing is for sure, it established a prayer life I never thought I would have, It taught me to REALLY trust and to depend on God and know Him by the power of His resurrection.
Two things happen when a believer is tried in the fire: things not like God get burned away, and the hidden treasures God has put in you get brought forth.
Faith, the Word of God tells us that without faith it is Impossible to please God ( Hebrews 11:6) “Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things NOT seen”(Heb 11:1). Without faith it would be impossible to believe. You said in the first paragraph of your writings that it SEEMS AS IF God cares more about faith and the final product… (Ecclesiastes 7:8) “BETTER is the END of a thing then the beginning thereof”. I love the Word because there isn’t a question of speculation that His Word doesn’t answer and confirm for us. You gave awesome points but with a strange twist which is what I don’t get… Your goldsmith has a name and His name is God and when He sees me what an honor for Him to see a refection of Himself, after all, I was made in His image . Gold is only valuable to the beholder…. I agree, a price unable to be matched was paid because to God, I am worth just that much That only the sinless, purest blood of His only begotten son Jesus Christ could redeem(buy back /pay for) me.
Thanks for your comments, most of which I agree with. However, you may have failed to see the slight self-deprecating humor of my post.
If you were to go back into a few years of my writing, you will see that I write a series of articles which I call “Scriptures That Bother Me.”
Now, I have some favorite Scriptures. I turn to them time and time again as reminders of how much God loves me and how perfect His gift of salvation is. They encourage me in times of doubt and failure and give me direction when I have questions.
However, there are also some passages that are my least favorite Scriptures: those that bother me because they pinch my comfort zones, prod my ego and challenge me to change. Mark Twain said, “Most people are bothered by those passages of Scripture they do not understand, but the passages that bother me are those I do understand.”
I’m writing about the Scriptures that bother me because I understand them. There is no question in my mind what they are saying, and because they are so crystal clear they leave me no wiggle-room to feign the reply, “Oh, is that what God meant…?” Yeah, ‘ol Sammy understood just like Jim understands. And when you know the truth, it demands a response, conveys a responsibility, and commands us to change.
Life is a journey, not an end result. Cervantes said, “The road is better than the inn.” Jesus never told a story about a finished loaf of bread. Rather, He shared a parable about the Kingdom of God working its way into people’s lives the way yeast is worked into dough, causing transformational change. John Ortberg quoted an unnamed pastor who said, “People don’t care what I know. They care about what I’m learning.” The world is hungry for people who will open their lives to the reality of the struggle, who will live transparent with their struggles and lessons, with their victories and defeats, with their questions and partial answers. This is why I am sharing with you some of those Scriptures that bother me.
OOOO lol, This was the first time I every came across your work. I couldn’t figure out the twist but I knew there was one, just didn’t know if it was negative or a positive one. I enjoyed what you had to say, God Bless and thank you for writing back. My aim is to encourage and sharpen my brothers and sisters in Christ.
so encouraging thank you!!!! God’s word is like a mirror we see ourselves based on the principles of Christ. His word is so powerful that it make us aware of the blemishes and dark spots in our lives and changes we have to make to follow His word. Thank you once again we though we are faced with trails, setbacks, difficult circumstance we we can hold on to the promises of God and know that we are coming out as gold stronger better and usable be bless.
Thanks for the kind words. It is always nice to know my writing is finding a home in someone’s heart!