And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver…
In the preceding verse, Christ is a refiner's fire, but in this He is the refiner sitting and watching the metal in the fire. His position suggests —
I. THAT HIS PEOPLE NEED REFINING. The dross of sin cleaves to the holiest. Nothing cleaves so closely. Christ sees dross where we do not. We are not always willing that it should be purged away when we do see it. The furnace is necessary.
II. THAT HIS PEOPLE ARE BEING REFINED. They find life a fiery ordeal. They often suffer more than sinners. The heat is often very penetrating; sometimes very hard to bear with patience. They do not always recognise the purpose of suffering. The process goes on even when the results are not perceived. A refiner's furnace is the truest simile of life.
III. THAT HIS PEOPLE ARE VALUABLE IN HIS EYES. He watches them in the furnace. He waits for their perfection. They are silver, not common earth. Often despised by the world, they are highly esteemed by Him. The refiner only watches precious metals in the fire. "Reprobate silver" may be consumed, but every particle of pure metal is preserved. Christ's people are precious to Him.
IV. THAT HIS PEOPLE WILL HAVE THEIR FIERY TRIALS TEMPERED TO THEIR SPIRITUAL REQUIREMENTS. He aims to make them spiritually perfect. He tempers the fire that He may separate "the sin that He hates from the soul that He loves." He seeks not to give carnal enjoyment, but purity. He, sitting to watch, manifests solicitude, patience, expectancy, and care.
V. THAT IN THE END HIS PEOPLE WILL BE FULLY PURIFIED. His purpose shall he accomplished in them. We often see the purification going on. The refiner uses the silver he purifies. Perfect purity will bring perfect blessedness. Learn —
1. To trust more perfectly the watchful care of your Refiner under your trials.
2. To estimate your trials by the amount of purifying they accomplish.
3. To co-operate with the refiner in His efforts to purify you.
(W. Osborne Lilley.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.