Read Zechariah 13
Focus on verse 9
The process of refining a precious metal such as gold involves melting the metal into liquid form so that the impurities in the metal either burn off or float to the surface where it can be skimmed off. When the metal is pure, the refiner can see a perfect reflection of his face in the surface of the metal.
In today’s reading God informs the prophet Zechariah of the plans He has for His people, and that it involves a process of refining.
And I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested. They will call upon my name, and I will answer them. (v. 9)
Sometimes when we experience the refining work of God in or lives, we mistake it as punishment for wrongdoing. While there may be a connection in that the purpose of the refining is to separate us from actions and attitudes that are sinful. The reason God seeks to remove sinful attitudes and actions from us is not to punish us for our disobedience, but rather to make it possible for us to walk more closely with Him.
This is similar to the parent who recognizes a problematic attitude in their young child and gently yet firmly implements a process of discipline to help the child correct the problematic attitude. While it is possible that the discipline may be painful for the child, the parent does not initiate the disciple in order to hurt the child but to help him or her. The parent loves the child and desires what is best for the child and is therefore willing to go through the discomfort of initiating a process of discipline that will hopefully correct the child’s behavior.
This is the same motivation that moves God to initiate the disciplinary process into our lives when we display problematic attitudes or actions. While discipline is rarely a pleasant procedure to endure, the resulting character is always worth the discomfort of what it takes to get there.