Tuesday, November 4, 2014

God Refines Us Differently

The Lord has special dealings with each one of his saints, and refines each one by a process peculiar to the individual, not heaping all his precious metals into one furnace of silver, but refining each metal by itself You do not know my trials, I am glad you do not: neither do I know yours, nor could I wish to bear that which you may have to suffer. There is a common sympathy, for we all go into the furnace; but there is a distinction in the case of each one, for to each one the furnace differs. Some tender hearts would be utterly crushed if they were afflicted as others are. Does not even the husbandman teach us this? He does not beat out the tender cummin and fitches with the cart wheel which he turns upon the heavier grain. No; he has different modes of operating upon the different kinds of seeds. They must all be thrashed, but not all thrashed in the same way.

Thou, brother, mayest be as a sheaf of the best corn. Be thou grateful; but remember thou shalt feel the sharp thrashing instrument having teeth. And thou, my brother, mayest be one of the tender seeds, the minor seeds of the Masters garner. Be thou grateful, for thou shalt feel a lighter flail than some others; but do not compliment thyself upon it, for thou mightest almost regret that gentler flail, because it proves that thou art of lighter stuff although still true grain of the Master’s sowing.

Beloved, I would venture to go so far as to say that the lines have not fallen to any two men in precisely the same places. We rejoice as we read the life of David, because he seems to set us all forth. David is to the church of God what Shakespeare is to the world:

“A man so various, that he seems to be
Not one, but all mankind’s epitome;” 

and yet David is totally distinct from any other of the saints. There are not, and could not be, two Davids. So you and I may travel in lines almost parallel, and we may therefore know each other’s griefs, and tenderly sympathize, but there is a turning in my life which you have never reached, and there is a dark corner in your life which I have never seen. The skeleton in any one person’s house is of a different sort to that which haunts any other dwelling. No one man is the exact replica of another.

In all this, divine sovereignty operates in connection with divine love and divine wisdom, purifying all the sons of Levi, giving to each one his own separate purification, according as his need may be. “I have refined thee, but not with silver. I have chosen thee.” Mark - not “you,” but “thee.” A distinct personal word is used, and is addressed to each separate saint. “I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.”

From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon entitled "Refined, But Not With Silver." Image by Lauren Tucker on Flickr under Creative Commons License, without alteration.

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