Passage: Isaiah 48:1-11
Israel Refined for God’s Glory.
1 Hear this, O house of Jacob,
who are called by the name of Israel,
and who came from the waters of Judah,
who swear by the name of the LORD
and confess the God of Israel,
but not in truth or right.
2 For they call themselves after the holy city,
and stay themselves on the God of Israel;
the LORD of hosts is his name.
3 "The former things I declared of old;
they went out from my mouth, and I announced them;
then suddenly I did them, and they came to pass.
4 Because I know that you are obstinate,
and your neck is an iron sinew
and your forehead brass,
5 I declared them to you from of old,
before they came to pass I announced them to you,
lest you should say, 'My idol did them,
my carved image and my metal image commanded them.'
6 "You have heard; now see all this;
and will you not declare it?
From this time forth I announce to you new things,
hidden things that you have not known.
7 They are created now, not long ago;
before today you have never heard of them,
lest you should say, 'Behold, I knew them.'
8 You have never heard, you have never known,
from of old your ear has not been opened.
For I knew that you would surely deal treacherously,
and that from before birth you were called a rebel.
9 "For my name’s sake I defer my anger,
for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you,
that I may not cut you off.
10 Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver;
I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.
11 For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it,
for how should my name be profaned?
My glory I will not give to another.
Journal: God refines us in the fire. His great testing is our great discipline. This is how a child moves from adolescence to adulthood. This is how a child of God becomes holy; becomes sanctified. [v. 10 -- "Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction."] A loving father would never leave a child to himself or to herself. Rather, a loving father teaches, tests and disciplines. So it is with the perfect Father, and His "furnace of affliction," intended to bring us to righteousness. This is not a righteousness for our own glory, but rather a righteousness for His glory. [v. 11 -- "For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another."] He is not to be crowded in with other possessions. He is to be our only possession; our only pursuit. Otherwise, His name will be "profaned," and our intent will be to make Him ordinary and subordinate. His fire hardens the unbelief of the unbeliever. His fire brings the believer to a deeper and more intimate level of belief. His fire melts away the exterior and exposes the condition of the heart.
Note: I was on vacation last week . . .