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God is always interested in our hearts because He can see what nobody can see. He examines our motives, thoughts and intentions because He made us and so He knows everything about us. The Bible says in 2 Chronicles 16:9 (NIV), "For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him." What does this mean? It simply means that He knows the hearts totally committed to Him and He strengthens those hearts through His test.

Reference: Proverbs 17:3 New International Version (NIV) "The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, but the LORD tests hearts."

Crucible is used to refine silver and the furnace is for gold. Crucibles and their covers are made of high temperature-resistant material that withstands temperatures high enough to melt its contents. On the other hand, furnace is enclosed structure in which material can be heated to very high temperatures for smelting. Significantly, both of them are good for refining silver and gold.

By way of illustration, this refers to our Christian faith. Testing is vital in our Christian walk and the Lord does the test. What does the Lord test? Our referenced Scripture reveals that God tests our hearts, not our countenance, composure or humour. The Bible says in 1st Samuel 16:7 (ESV), "...For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart." In other words, humans easily judge character and worth from external point of view. That's why by looking at a man's outward appearance, beauty, physical abilities and qualities, we can positively or negatively conclude in our mind what a person can be or do. But God in His sovereignty can scan the inside of a person because He "looks at the heart".

Beloved, God considers our faith in Him more precious than gold, as well as silver. This is why Solomon, in His Biblical wisdom literature, used the refining of gold and silver as perfect pictures illustrating our test of faith. The Lord forms our Christlike character through the crucible and furnace of trials. During trials, God tests how much a person can value Him, the texture of their character, integrity or faithfulness to Him, and this shows that our moral and spiritual discipline are very important to God. In James 1:2-4 (ESV), the Bible says, "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."

God always wants us to develop a joyful attitude during trials because He knows what the trial is designed to achieve in our lives. He wants the testing of our faith to produce steadfastness so we can develop a genuine heart after Him. He knows that we can't stand firm in Him without complete steadfastness. So He grants us the opportunity to gain it in the face of trial or adversity. And in the process, He purifies us from dross of corrupting influences and worldly desires, and then sharpens us to bring forth the best in us for His greater purpose. Shalom!

Scripture Reading - Proverbs 3:5-6; Jeremiah 17:9-10; Proverbs 4:23; 1 Peter 3:3-4.

Guided Prayer: Heavenly Father, I honour you today because you are the only true God that looks at the heart, sees our faithfulness and true character, and can determine the depth of our love for you. Therefore I'm encouraged to be refined by your Word and Spirit on a daily basis, acknowledging that every trial you allow to come my way is a good tool for perfecting my faith walk. Thus your perfect work purifies and strengthens my faith and produces steadfastness as the blessings of your grace and mercy in Jesus' Name, Amen!


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