There was a group of people in a Bible study on the book of Malachi. As they were studying chapter three, they came across verse three which says:
“He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver.”
This verse puzzled them and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God. One of them offered to find out about the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible study. That week this man called up a silver smith and made an appointment to watch him at work. He didn’t mention anything about the reason for his interest in silver beyond his curiosity about the process of refining silver.
As he watched, the silver smith held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest so as to burn away all the impurities.
The man thought about God holding us in such a hot spot – then he thought again about the verse, that He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver.
He asked the silver smith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined. The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. For if the silver was left even a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed.
The man was silent for a moment. Then he asked the silver smith, how do you know when the silver is fully refined?
He smiled and answered, “Oh, that’s the easy part–when I see my image reflected in it.”