The Bible Dictionary tells us that the refiner sits before his crucible, fixing his eyes on the metal, taking care that the heat is not too great, and letting the metal stay in the crucible only so long as is necessary for all the dross to be consumed. The indication of this is the reflection of the refiner's own image in the glowing mass.
He sat by the furnace of sevenfold heat,
As he watched the precious ore;
And closer he bent with a searching gaze
As he heated it more and more.
He knew he had ore that could stand the test,
And he wanted the finest gold
To mould a crown for the King to wear,
Set with gems of a price untold.
So He laid our gold in the burning fire,
Though we fain would say to Him Way!'
And He watched the dross, which we had not seen,
As it melted and passed away.
And the gold grew brighter and yet more bright,
But our eyes were so dim with tears—
We saw but the fire, not the Master's hand,
And so questioned with anxious fears.
Yet our gold shone out with a richer glow,
As it mirrored a Form above
That bent o'er the fire, though unseen by us,
With a look of ineffable love.
Can we think it pleases His loving heart
E'er to cause us a moment's pain?
Ah no! but He sees through the present cross
All the bliss of eternal gain.
So He waited there with a watchful eye,
With a love that is strong and sure;
And His gold did not suffer a bit more heap
Than was needed to make it pure.
(Job. 23. 10; Mal. 3. 3; 1 Pet. 1. 7).
The steel that has suffered most is the best steel. It has been in the furnace, on the anvil, in the jaws of the vice. It has felt the teeth of the rasp and has been ground by emery. It has been heated and hammered and filed until it does not know itself, and it comes out a splendid knife. Misfortunes are God's best blessings, moulding influences which give shapeliness and edge, and durability and power.—Henry Ward Beecher
(Job. 23. 10; 42. 12; 2 Cor. 12. 10).
The refiner is never far from the mouth of the furnace when his gold is in the fire, and the Son of God is always walking in the flames when his holy children are cast into them.—C. H. Spurgeon
(Isa. 43. 2; Dan. 3. 22-25; 1 Pet. 1. 7, 8)
"Ikey, I hear you had a fire last Thursday."
"Sh! Next Thursday."