BEHOLD, I HAVE REFINED YOU, BUT NOT AS SILVER;
I HAVE TESTED YOU IN THE FURNACE OF AFFLICTION [Isa.48:10]
Life made bitter by grueling taskmasters makes tears your
food, night and day. It is what Israel knew, enslaved in the
iron furnace of Egypt under the Pharaoh who knew not Joseph.
But the Israel of God knew him. They could not forget, for
his bones were in their possession. Then Joseph made the sons of
Israel swear, saying, â€œGod will surely visit you, and you shall carry
my bones up from hereâ€? [Gen.50:25].
His bones are the token that Egyptâ€™s suffering is not your
lasting portion. As with Josephâ€™s own life history, they are a reminder
that the promise will yet be realized though it delay for long. God will
surely visit you.
You will yet be carried up from there to a Canaan of rest. Do
not lose sight of Josephâ€™s bones. Let them remind you of the greater
and surer reality yet to come. Greater things are at stake than your
immediate comfort from the heated furnace of your affliction.
An Amoriteâ€™s iniquity has yet to ripen [Gen.15:16]. The
overthrow of world powers is pending [Deut.9:1-5]. Hearts are being
prepared to move with a pillar of cloud and fire through a trackless
wilderness [Ex.13:21, 22].
Do not flee the flames. God will surely visit you. But the
Lord has taken you and brought you out of the iron furnace, from
Egypt, to be a people for His own possession, as you are this day
[Deut.4:20]. The day will surely come, for He who promises cannot
God has spoken unmistakably. He has chosen and gifted you
for a wide sphere of influence unto good for this generation. You are
a man after Godâ€™s own heart.
But senseless and self-consumed opponents block your way
and pursue your demise like hunters their prey. You are an outcast,
a vilified vagabond with no certain dwelling. Dangers and terrors
confront you on every hand. Your enemies are more numerous than
the hairs of your head.
Where can you flee? Is there no refuge from these relentless
afflictions? Come, dear reader, to the cave of Adullam and join Davidâ€™s
band. Walk with him through the Valley of the Shadow of Death.
The Lord is there, even in that dark place, though enemies compass
you about on every hand. There is yet a table prepared in their
In the midst of uncertainties, hounded by irrational foes, one
token abides, The Lord said, â€œArise, anoint him; for this is heâ€? [I
Sam.16:12]. I am Godâ€™s chosen one, for God has spoken.
Hiding in Adullamâ€™s cave where no throne is, leading an
unenviable handful of embittered distressed debtors; hardly could this
be called a kingdom [I Sam.22:1,2]. Often without bread [I Sam.21:3,
25:8], the promised table spread seems somehow sparse, even a
What is your consolation to be in these trying straits? Hear
David cry, How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever? How
long will You hide Your face from me? How long shall I take
counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart all the day? How long
will my enemy be exalted over me?
Consider and answer me, O Lord my God; enlighten my
eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death, and my enemy will say, â€œI
have overcome him,â€? and my adversaries will rejoice when I am
But I have trusted in Your lovingkindness; my heart shall
rejoice in Your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because He has
dealt bountifully with me [Ps.13].
A bounteous dealing by the hand of the Lord awaits all who
weep in the desert. His Word will not fail, His servant will never, no,
never be forsaken. Let this be your comfort as you pillow your head
upon a stone in the dust of your cave.
Tonight, the heavens are black high overhead. It is in dark
places that Thou hast tried my heart; Thou hast visited me in the
night; Thou hast tested me, and shall find nothing [Ps.17:3]. God
will surely visit you in the night. May He find in you what He did in
David. It is His pathway to the throne.
Is it nothing to all you who pass this way? Behold and see if
there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow which was severely dealt
out to me, wherewith the Lord has afflicted me in the day of His
fierce wrath [Lam.1:12].
For these things I weep; my eye, my eye runs down with
water; because far from me is a comforter, one who restores my soul
[Lam.1:16]. My eyes fail because of tears, my spirit is greatly
troubled; my heart is poured out on the earth because of the
destruction of the daughter of my people, when little ones and
infants faint in the streets of the city [Lam.2:11]. My eyes pour down
unceasingly, without stopping, until the Lord looks down and sees
from heaven [Lam.3:49, 50].
It was for being afflicted over the destruction of the daughter
of my people that Jeremiah was known as the weeping prophet.
Through grief over the state of Godâ€™s people, we enter into the heart
of God Himself. It is by lamentation that the Lordâ€™s depth of anguish over spiritual revolt is discovered in all its hideousness to our hearts.
If we thus know God, we can do nothing but weep.
Then those of you who escape will remember Me…how I
have been broken by their adulterous hearts which turned away
from Me [Ezk.6:9]. We learn to weep over what God weeps over. His
concerns become our own as we weep with Jeremiah and Christ Jesus
our Lord over the destruction of Jerusalem.
Through the furnace we are made like our God. There is no