I don’t want to need refining. When God looks at my life, I want him to mold and shape and coach and encourage, yet I am leery of the full-on refining of God. Daniel’s prophecies reveal that God’s final refining will be unexpected and painful and yet still redeeming…
1 In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia, a revelation was given to Daniel (who was called Belteshazzar). Its message was true and it concerned a great war. The understanding of the message came to him in a vision.
31 “[The king of the north’s] armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice. Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation. 32 With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him.
33 “Those who are wise will instruct many, though for a time they will fall by the sword or be burned or captured or plundered. 34 When they fall, they will receive a little help, and many who are not sincere will join them. 35 Some of the wise will stumble, so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time.
Daniel 10:1, 11:31-35
Daniel’s visions of the end times of our world ramp up in chapter 10-12 with the rise to power of the king of the north, who is opposed to God and the people of God. He interferes with the way worship occurs and abolishes the daily sacrifice in the temple while setting up a false idol.
This king will flatter people, and those who violate the covenant of God will be deceived while the people who know God will firmly resist him. Imagine if this occurred in our time… where would you stand? Would you be a covenant violator or firmly standing with God?
We are all firm with the Lord, right? Did anyone put their hands up to stand with the king of the north?
None of us did. Except that the prophecy says some of us will follow this anti-God king. Some of us with walk from our covenant with God and be deceived. Is this Israel or are Christians in this mix also? I do not know, yet I think we ought to be humble before God and pray that this is not us. Do not be arrogant and let pride become our stumbling block.
For even ‘some of the wise will stumble, so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end.’ Really? Yup. Why are we surprised? From the start of Daniel until now, we have seen that God handed over his precious people and treasures to be under the power of a foreign king. This prophecy is consistent with God’s dealings with his people.
God’s treatment of his children in Daniel shows us that the Lord is concerned with our eternal state over the pleasures and successes we might enjoy on earth.
So that they may be refined…
Oh that I don’t need that much refining. Oh, that I would be preserved by your mercies, God. That I would never stop worshiping you and you only, God. Would you cover me with your grace and hold me up by your mercy?