Advent, Day 5: And He Shall Purify

In our “lectionary” from Handel’s Messiah, we have come to the fearsome Malachi 3:2-3.


But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth?


For he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap:  And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver:


and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.


A quote from Amy Carmichael, rescuer of over 100 girls in India, and their beloved Amma


“One day we took the children to see a goldsmith refine gold after the ancient manner of the East. He was sitting beside his little charcoal fire. (“He shall sit as a refiner”; the gold- or silversmith never leaves his crucible once it is on the fire.)


In the red glow lay a common curved roof tile; another tile covered it like a lid. This was the crucible. In it was the medicine made of salt, tamarind fruit and burnt brick dust, and imbedded in it was the gold. The medicine does its appointed work on the gold, “then the fire eats it,” and the goldsmith lifts the gold out with a pair of tongs, lets it cool, rubs it between his fingers, and if not satisfied puts it back again in fresh medicine.


This time he blows the fire hotter than it was before, and each time he puts the gold into the crucible, the heat of the fire is increased; “it could not bear it so hot at first, but it can bear it now; what would have destroyed it then helps it now.”


“How do you know when the gold is purified?” we asked him, and he answered, “When I can see my face in it.”

And this is the prayer that sits up on the top shelf in my bathroom…that some days I pray and other days I look at out of the corner of my eye with fear and trembling. Slowly it is having its ways with me because through it all, I know that I can trust that He is good:

I am no longer my own, but thine. Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt; put me to doing, put me to suffering; let me be employed for thee or laid aside for thee, exalted for thee or brought low for thee;

let me be full, let me be empty; let me have all things, let me have nothing;

I freely and heartily yield all things to they pleasure and disposal.

And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, thou art mine, and I am thine. So be it. And the covenant which I have made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.

–From the Watch Night Service by John Wesley around 1755



Everyday here at “a thirst for God” is a short meditation, Handel’s Messiah and photography.  Don’t miss a day. Slip your email into the “Connect” square on the right side of the front page.  Together we are journeying to the manger. 

You may also like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *