Proverbs 17 and 18
There is so, so much in both of these chapters that I hope will prayerfully read through them! I don’t normally blog on Sundays but I had to take a moment to share two verses today – one from each chapter.
Though it’s hard to narrow down in such rich chapters, there is a single verse in each one I want to focus on. First, from chapter 17, let’s peek at verse 3:
The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the LORD tests hearts.Proverbs 17:3
Now I’m not sure how much you know about assaying, but it’s the process of testing a metal ore to determine its purity and quality. It’s done by application of either heat or chemical solvents which break down the metal or ore and separate any impurities.
This is the idea behind the phrase, “The Lord tests hearts.” It isn’t like some spiritual ACT test or college placement exam. He’s applying the heat or solvents needed to break us down into raw parts in order to determine what is actually in our hearts.
This process is often painful, but well worth it in the end. A person whose faith has been broken down into its fundamental parts and assayed is a person who knows what he believes and why.
And that, my friends, is where the going gets good. One reason this verse grabbed me, though, is that it reminds me of the very first passage that ever leapt off the pages of Scripture and pierced my heart:
Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction. For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another.Isaiah 48:10-11
Early in my walk with God, He showed me that all the affliction I had endured to date, whether self-inflicted or circumstantial, was meant by Him to draw me to Himself. It was a refining, a revealing of the impurity of my heart, and a stone-cold reminder that glory is due Him, not me. It gave me hope, perspective, and purpose all in one.
Now that’s a rather long story, but I promised to address another verse so it will have to wait. Time is short, so let me just say the following verse was one of the early ones that followed the passage from Isaiah in stabbing me with conviction and beginning the process of sanctification in me.
It’s these powerful, convicting, purposeful, and personal words from the Scriptures that make this book a Living Word. It’s what I love, even when the process hurts my pride. Who am I kidding? It kills my pride, but the thing needs to die anyway.
Oh, how I love my God! And He continually reminds me how I need to be vocal about it. Why? Well, let’s look at today’s verse:
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.Proverbs 18:21