A refining process

Gold is cleaned and purified during the process of refining, which filters out impurities from the raw gold. In the most common method of refining, gold is melted refiners gold.pngin an induction furnace; As it melts, chlorine gas is carefully and precisely added to the molten gold. This turns the by-products and base metals (such as silver and nickel) into solid chlorides.

The chlorides float to the top of the gold and are then skimmed off. They are called “slag”.  Gold is usually put through this refining process at least two times, each time taking two to four hours and resulting in a purity factor of from 99.0% to as much as 99.5%.


This revelation is based on the  40 year sojourn of the Israelite’s in the wilderness recorded in Exodus 14 – Joshua 5. A period God used to refine, to sieve, to prepare a people for a new phase of life.

Gold ore found in its natural state is filled with impurities. The refiner uses a meticulous process to extract the high quality, high valuable gold. It is only after refining that gold can be used for beautification. God used this period to bring out a people He could call his own,  tested and refined for the Promised Land, a place of rest (Ex 14:7) a good land, a place of favour and fruitfulness.

The Israelite’s lived in Egypt for 430  years, in that time their God-given cultures were forgotten, their God became a fable. Initially they were content as Joseph their patriarch provided them with a shield from the jealousy of the Egyptians, but Joseph died and a Pharaoh eventually arose who did not know Joseph (Exodus 1:8 ). The Egyptians became lords over the children of Israel and put them to task as labourer’s in building new cities. The oppression grew unbearable and the children of Israel sought deliverance.

 Deliverance is never easy; it always comes at a price. The Israelite’s had been corrupted by the ways of the land they dwelled in, worshiping other gods and relegating the one true God to a character from a fable story told only at bedtime. To God, delivering them was the easy part as that would take just one word, just like one word was sufficient to create the heavens and the earth. The hard part was delivering them to what? What type of existence?. Would it be sufficient to redeem them from their current dilemma to a life of business as usual, or was it time to separate the gold from the slag? A refining process would be required, intense heat and pressure applied several times until all the impurities were removed, In God’s case He requires 100% purity. But why would it take 40 years to achieve the desired results?

It is another day and I really don’t want to open my eyes, how did the night pass so fast? I drag myself and have a quick wash; I cannot afford to be late. The penalty for being late these days could be as harsh as death!. Ever since that Moses came along with his magic rod, things have gotten tougher for us. As I quickly put on my robe, I wonder what ‘tricks’ Moses was planning today, couldn’t he just get the message that life was hard enough? Whose idea was this deliverance thing anyway?

The site was buzzing with excitement, the elders just sent word of a Passover that would occur tonight. The instructions are so specific and requires intense concentration to capture; unleavened bread, a Passover lamb, a bunch of hyssop, blood on the door frames, eat dressed up and  don’t leave the house until morning. What did all that have to do with this back breaking work, I will have to wait till evening to get the full story.

 Midnight finally comes, the doors are locked and the Passover instructions are followed carefully. Everyone is in a pensive mood not knowing what to expect. Then the screams and wailing started like a deafening chorus, it rang through the quiet night  air. We all huddle together– what was Moses up to now?

Like a dream,  by dawn we are on our way. Pharaoh had ordered every single Israelite to leave Egypt immediately. Those wailing’s from last night were sounds of grief, ALL the first born in Egypt had died, including Pharaoh’s. There is fear in the eyes of the Egyptian as they asked us to leave, they gave us anything we asked (gold, silver and clothing), I guess the fear of God is truly the beginning of wisdom. The children and livestock are gathered quickly and the Isrealites head out. To where? No one asks, the euphoria of being free was great and for once we are happy to just follow Moses, maybe he has a plan after all.

It doesn’t take long before the euphoria wears off. A cloud of dust is rising behind us and from its center we see the entire Pharaoh’s army and it does not look like an escort service. It appears we are trapped between the red sea and Pharaoh’s army. Like many others I am praying that this is part of the grand plan as I would rather be carrying heavy sacks of sand in the hot sweltering sun than to be used as target practice for the Egyptian army. As the chariots approach the panic in the camp increases and we gather around a surprisingly calm Moses, voices are already being raised, but then Moses speaks out in a  firm and convincing voice  ‘do not be afraid’ (Exodus 14:13-14). The crowd falls into silence as Moses raises his staff, (another trick? , I wonder). Then to my utter amazement there is a loud noise of a rushing wind and the red sea parts before my very eyes. THIS cannot be a trick, this is a miracle!. My mother grabs my hand as we hurriedly cross the dry path created at the bottom of the sea; I wished I could have stopped to pick some rocks or shells from the sea bed or to poke my hands through the wall of water piled high on both sides, but time doesn’t permit. We all manage to get over safely but to our horror we see the Egyptians on the sea bed path in hot chase.

Then the unimaginable happened.

As the last one of our brethren cross over, the sea begins to return to its place just as Moses lifted his staff again. The entire Egyptians army is drowned before our eyes by the returning sea. This man Moses cannot be an ordinary trickster like the adults say. There must be a divine hand in all of this.

*************

I had come to the realization that the God in my bedtime stories was not fictional. What I failed to understand was how my parents and older relations found it so hard to believe and obey. It has been one long journey filled with complaints; we are hungry, we are tired, we are thirsty, we are bored! They resisted every plan of God to strengthen our faith, they have resisted growth. Even today as we gather to hear the report of the men sent to spy the land, I still hear murmurings in the crowd. I admire Caleb as he says ”we should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it” , I raise my hand to cheer but  I am obviously  in the minority as I look around and see people booing. Do I hear right, are there still people wanting to return to Egypt? (Numbers 13)

The Lord spoke then … “Not one of the men who saw my glory and the miraculous signs……..not one of them will ever see the land I promised to their forefathers”, it was clear – everyone twenty years and above when we left Egypt will not be entering the Promised Land. We had tested the Lord one time too many and the tables were now being turned – it was time for the Lord to test us for our worthiness of the Promised Land.

The tests have been hard, but meant to humble us and test the contents of our hearts (Deut 8:2-9).  In the forty years that followed we learnt to follow Him without questions, to trust Him, to rely on Him for the provision of our daily bread (which we call manna), we haven’t needed to worry about ‘worldy‘  things; as God kept our clothes and shoes. Our feet did not swell. He protected us from the dangerous snakes and scorpions in the land, He brought water from the rock. In good health he kept us. We learnt to worship Him again, the memories of Egypt became dim as the older generation passed away one after the other. All that we know now is the Lord, our provider, our sustainer, our deliverer. It is Him alone we have learnt to look up to.

Today there was no manna, a confirmation that the weaning process was complete. Yesterday, when we set camp at Gilgal on the plains of Jericho, we tasted the produce of the land – roasted grain and unleavened bread. For the first time in forty years, at the threshold of the Promised Land, the manna stopped. A sign that we are ready to move on.

Obedience is now second nature to us and when Joshua gives the instructions for overcoming Jericho we didn’t ask how or why.  The instructions may sound weird to some but anyone who has traversed the wilderness with us these past forty years would know that when the Lord speaks, we obey and allow the Lord to do His work. Today’s instruction is straight forward, we shout, He conquers.

The forty years in the wilderness is over, God has turned babes into men of war. The spirit of doubt and unbelief has been sifted away and what remains is soft malleable gold that God can use for His purpose. The journey has been rough but the lesson learnt. TRUST AND OBEY.


The Refining thought

Life is full of tests; a test passed means progression to the next level, a test failed means a repeat and subsequent expulsion if minimum standards cannot be met.  God has opened my eyes to understand the importance of passing His tests, many came out of Egypt but few went into the Promised Land. It is all about refining the few for greater works and I choose to be part of the few. Those who will inherit the Promised Land must have a mature spirit of obedience and trust (an outcome of a refining process) not an immature spirit of grumbling and rebellion.

Perhaps you have dwelt in the wilderness for a long time and ready to move on – Check your life for slags; these are represented by impatience (with God), dissatisfaction (in God), forgetfulness (of God) and reliance on earthly acquisitions and attainments. The choice remains ours today, to reject the correction and refining of the Lord and stay in the wilderness or, accept the perfecting refining process and experience supernatural progress in every area of our lives.

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A bridge to increased fruitfulness

A bridge is a structure built to span a valley, road, body of water, or other physical obstacle, for the purpose of providing passage over the obstacle.

bridge

This revelation is based on the study of the great flood as recorded in Gen 6, 7 & 8.  God has used the period of 40 days (and nights) as a bridge over troubles waters (signifying the challenges and pressures of life). Life is in two distinct phases, the phase of youthful exuberance and a phase of physical & spiritual maturity. In between these two phases is a definitive moment, a crossover point.


In those days, Life was good just like it is now. But it is written (Gen 6: 11) that God was grieved because of the wickedness violence and corruption in the land, a situation that perhaps could be compared to what we see around us today. But God had a redemptive plan to cleanse and restore the land however this plan required man to make a choice; believe, step into the Ark and be saved.

It is interesting to note that God always gives a warning and ample time for preparation. He even gives specific instructions (Gen 6: 14-16) on how to build the ark – the escape route. I can only imagine the eye rolling and gossiping when the project started, the story going round town would have been that Noah has finally lost his mind. We also know that the only humans that made it into the ark were Noah, his wives, his children & their spouses.

They made the right decision.

It was a time to move from a period of permissiveness due to youthful exuberance to one of decisiveness borne out of maturity and it would take a period of 40days and nights to make that transition. As I pondered, I wondered why 40? It rained for 40 days & nights, but the flood covered the earth for 150 days.  What is the significance of 40? As I pondered, my mind is taken aback several thousand years and I am in the ark –

It is raining heavily; we have had to shut the windows to keep the rain out.  The thunder, lightning, the noise is deafening as the water bounces off the roof. So what Noah said was true! What God said was true! It was all true!

 The life we were all living grieved God. Ok, I was not as bad as some of my friends, but I permitted their excesses, I allowed the jokes. Now, He is wiping off the traces of all living things from the earth and I found grace. I made it into the ark.

For 40 days and night, the rain fell. I look around to see all passengers in different corners wearing the same pensive look I must have on my face. My heart is humbled, food and drink does not appeal to me. My thoughts are with the friends and neighbors that laughed as I packed my bags and helped Noah with the Ark. I recollect the times I tried to convince them to join us but they were adamant that we were all looney’s. I cringe as I  remember how they banged on the door of the ark when the floods started to rise, I recognize their voices but I could do nothing because God himself had shut the door (Gen 7:16 ).

Why was I not more persuasive, perhaps I had a small doubt in my mind that the rain would not come. Did I get on the Ark because I wanted to obey Noah or because I wanted to obey God? Well Its all clear now, It was God that had spoken, It is God that has acted, it is in God I have found grace. When the rains are over, I would have to be a different person, a daughter that hears the voice of God, a daughter that discerns the spirit of God.

The rain has stopped now, Noah has opened the windows. There is a shout of joy as a refreshing breeze and the scent of fresh air fills the ark. The pensive period is over, we are all back to the hustle and bustle of everyday life and discussing how we must live once we get off the Ark. The Lesson has been learnt.


The Significance is glaring at me in the face as I am startled back to present times. 40 signifies a transition period, a bridge for me. Life continues after 40 but with lessons learnt. 40 years is a period that mould’s you and defines you.  I have called this point in my life a bridge, a bridge to a new life, a fruitful life , a life filled with promises of greatness (Gen 8:22 – Gen 9:17  )

The Defining thought

Life is all about choices, Noah’s children did not have to get on the Ark, but they did and were saved. If any of the neighbors had shown up with their bags before God shut the door of the Ark, they also would have been saved, but none did until it was too late.

Today we can reflect on this lesson and accept that Jesus is the way, the truth and the light, He is our salvation, our bridge over the troubles and challenges of life. No matter how extreme your past has been, God still has the door open today, but this time it is a living door called Jesus (John 14:6). He calls on you to make that crossover decision today. Enter into His grace and receive grace, favour and revelation to carry you through the next phase of life.