Wednesday, May 18, 2011

May 18, 2011 … Reassurance in the Midst of Trials

Passage of the Day: 1st Peter 4: 12 [NIV] … 12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.

1st Pet. 4: 12 – NASB Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeals among you , which come upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; …

My Journal for Today: I like the way that the NASB version takes the phrase “painful trial,” translated in the NIV above from the Greek; and expands the translation. By referring to “fiery ordeals,” which seemingly tests the believer over a longer period of time, the NASB reference is much more explanatory and fits the historical context more readily. The NASB rendering calls the sufferings being experienced by the 1st century readers as “fiery ordeals … which comes upon you for your testing.” To me this is much clearer than the NIV reference to “painful trials”, especially in the context of the suffering of the Christians in Peter’s day, many of whom were being burned alive by Nero and became pitch-covered human torches for their faith.

This image is much like that of Psalm 66: 10, which states clearly the metaphor of life, at times, being like a “fiery trial,” which burns in our life for a season of time to help refine us …

SCRIPTURE: Psalm 66: 10For You, O God, tested us; You refined us like silver.

When you know how precious metals are refined, the word picture and metaphor for life becomes very applicable. The gold/silver ore is melted over a fire; and the dross (i.e., impurities) float to the top where the metal-smith skims off the impurities, leaving the refined, purified gold or silver. When we face the “fires of life,” as did those to whom Peter was addressing, we are purified by these “fiery trials;” and this is the essence of the sanctification process. That’s why belief in the truth of Romans 8: 28 [I hope you’ve memorized that scripture by now!] is severely tested when we are put to the test of fire in our life.

And so we read Peter reminding those in the “fiery trials” of life not to be surprised or dismayed. The Apostle Paul wrote in much the same way about the testing or trials of life in 1st Cor. 10: 13, where he said, “No temptation [also accurately translated “test, trial, or tribulation,” depending on the life circumstances] has seized you except what is common to man.” These Apostles wanted their Christian readers to grasp the expectation that these 1st century believers would suffer for their faith or have “fiery trials” in their lives so that God could purify them into the completeness and purity of Christlikeness.

Tomorrow in the Peter’s next verse (see 1st Peter 4: 13), we will read that these “fiery trials” should actually cause us to “rejoice,” because they are our participation in the sufferings of/for Christ. But I’ve been reading ahead; … more on that tomorrow >>>.

My Prayer Today: Lord, help me to see You in the furnace of life. Amen

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