A Severe Mercy, An Aweful Holiness, A Terrible Love
God at work in our lives.
By Evan Wiggs
(Hab 3:2 KJV) O LORD, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O LORD, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.
(Psa 109:21 KJV) But do thou for me, O GOD the Lord, for thy name's sake: because thy mercy is good, deliver thou me.
(Psa 109:22 KJV) For I am poor and needy, and my heart is wounded within me.
(Prov 17:3 NASB) The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, But the LORD tests hearts.
(Isa 30:27 NASB) Behold, the name of the LORD comes from a remote place; Burning is His anger, and dense is His smoke; His lips are filled with indignation, And His tongue is like a consuming fire;
(Isa 30:28 NASB) And His breath is like an overflowing torrent, Which reaches to the neck, To shake the nations back and forth in a sieve, And to put in the jaws of the peoples the bridle which leads to ruin.
(Isa 30:29 NASB) You will have songs as in the night when you keep the festival; And gladness of heart as when one marches to the sound of the flute, To go to the mountain of the LORD, to the Rock of Israel.
Who is the God with Whom we have to do? We seem to scarcely know Him in His grandeur and glory. He dwells in our hearts, but seems so foreign to our flesh laden lives. His mystery of Godliness is deep and inscrutable and no one knows the depths of His mercy, nor what that mercy really means.
Recently I saw Him working in anotherís life. As tear coursed down their cheeks, they cried out "havenít I suffered enough? When will this testing end?" I said that the testing would not ever end, but that we would have seasons of refreshing. The Lord spoke to my heart at that moment and said "they would not want my hand of mercy withdrawn." I thought what a severe mercy you have O God! How sweet and good, but how severe.
The refiner of old would get the gold when it was not very pure and full of other base metals, called dross. Much like us, pure gold of the spirit and dross of the world, the flesh and the devil. Most of us have made a certain peace with our selves and our sin. We sometimes sadly acknowledge our sinfulness with even tears, but we can do nothing and with it. It poisons our lives with it bright baubles. Many households entertain themselves with things that are corrupt and unholy on Saturday night and come to Church on Sunday full of dross and do not even know it.
How strange it is that we would so avidly read a novel or see a movie generated by the tiny finite mind of man and ignore the wondrous Word of God generated by the infinite mind of God! What is to compare? We need new eyes! We need new hearts! People of God it is not to be so!!
I write this to the Lovers of God. Those who do not love Him as the lover of their soul will simply not understand what I am saying. God of wonders plant your holiness once again in your Church! Show your Glory!
The Gold refiner would take the dross laden gold and put it into the crucible. He would light a fire under the crucible and with bellows blow the fire white hot and melt the gold until it was fully liquid. Gold is one of the densest metals and one of the most enduring, but it melts easily. Other dross metals such as zinc and iron melt at hotter temperatures and are not as dense as gold. These dross metals would float to the top and be skimmed off.
These are the bigger sins, the gross sins of our lives. Lust, pornography, unholy anger, lying, gossip, backbiting etc. are the things God burns out first. They hurt and we cry but really they are the easiest to eradicate because He is actually working down into our souls, to the depths of our beings. You see He wants to be Lord of all of us, not just some of us. Lord of our lives, move in your awesome way and cleanse our hearts of the besetting sin that so easily fouls our way. Forgive us, have mercy upon us, we bow humbly before you for you to cleanse us with your blood.
Oh Calvary, such love, such terrible love, that would love so much that the lover will not let anything, even death, stand in the way of their beloved. Yes death of our very self, death of our supremacy of our lives. We are to give them up, completely, fully, wholly. A terrible love that is hard as steel, soft as velvet, sweet as honey, bitter as hyssop. Such a love that we must bow before its fearful, aweful holiness. I have had such visions of His holiness that Iíve literally shaken if fear. My own lack became so perfectly unholy, that it scared me. His words to me were of reprimand and reproof and I had no answer, but to simply bow in obedience to his command.
Now the Goldsmith reheats the gold sometimes up to seven or nine more times. Such pain, such sorrow, such sublime work. It is interesting that the substances that now come to the top are much closer to gold in their nature. For instance lead is very close to gold on the periodic chart, similar in melting temperature, the same rhomboid crystalline structure, very close in specific gravity. But in value they are worlds apart. Lead sells for pennies a pound, gold sells for hundred of dollars an ounce. Lead is dull and lifeless in color, gold is rich and warm in color.
What is the lead in our lives? Is it not pride and self-righteousness? Are these not close to godliness so much so that in many forms they are mistaken for it? Do they not sneak into our prayers and our dealings with others? Do they not speak to us from the altar with words so holy that we listen wide eyed not knowing the poison we are drinking. The Phariseeís of Jesus day were the religious ones, the keeperís of the law, the upright, the true believers. They had the temple worship. Herodís temple had the outer court and the inner court. It had the bronze sea and the laver. It had the holy place, with the menorah, the table of shew bread and the incense. It had the veil and the holy of holies. They practiced the sacrifices and the festivals. They were proud, haughty and self-righteous. Of all the people Jesus met during his ministry the religious ones of the day were the ones he spoke so harshly about. You see they had all the accoutrements of life but they were dead. They had an empty holy of holies. The Glory had escaped and was walking among them. He was trying to tell them what really mattered in life. But their pride and self-righteousness got in the way.
Oh Lord, take the Pharisee ways away from me! Let me be more like you, with compassion, mercy and love in my heart. Let me be pleasing in your sight oh my God!
Is 30 says we will have songs in the night. The word night is:
It can mean adversity and darkness. God when he lays great things upon us, puts us in the crucible of his desire will also carry us and give songs in the adversity and night. Beloved we will sing! I certainly know this as I have spent months in those purging fires and I know just how sweetly and lovingly the savior comes along side. He tenderly touches the hurting heart. He, the balm of Gilead, soothes the wounds. His interest is for our best, not just our good, but our best. We can never let that which is good, take the place of the best. It is the best that comes out of the refinerís fire.
(Mal 3:1 NASB) "Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming," says the LORD of hosts.
(Mal 3:2 NASB) "But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner's fire and like fullers' soap.
Yes, who can endure that day? Sinful flesh cannot, intellect cannot, human will cannot, nothing of us can stand that day, only the things of the Spirit will stand. Great and awesome are you oh God! Mighty in your dealings with man. Surely your love is above the heavens! To the heights of the stars is your mercy! Precious Jesus, redeemer, work your mighty love in and through us and make us ready for that day.
Are you in the heat today? Is your flesh crying out and your mind aching from the pain? Beloved of God, embrace Him in this, for it is He who is at work! Run to him and fall into His everlasting arms. They will hold you in the inferno just like Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego in that fiery furnace long ago.
Job, when he was in the crucible and at his deepest despondency cried out:
(Job 29:2 NASB) "Oh that I were as in months gone by, As in the days when God watched over me;
(Job 29:3 NASB) When His lamp shone over my head, And by His light I walked through darkness;
(Job 29:4 NASB) As I was in the prime of my days, When the friendship of God was over my tent;
Donít you know the heavenly watchers look and long over the child on the path. They see the glory though we do not and thus do not intercede. But what Job had in the past was not even to be compared with what he was to have.
(Job 42:5 NASB) "I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear; But now my eye sees Thee;
Oh! The Almighty was near in the past but now He is face to face! What glory, what grandeur, what JOY!
Yes He brings us close to Him and teaches us the secrets of the darkness. He loves us with a love we thought impossible.
What Job didnít realize in his hurt and pain was that very soon would come the surprise of joy. The deep intimacy with the Living God. Perhaps you are in this place? What surprise of JOY awaits you oh beloved of God?