PART TWO OF A THREE PART SERIES
TRIED BY FIRE (Excerpts)
A.W. Pink (1886-1952)
“But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me
I shall come forth as gold.”—Job 23:10
2. DIVINE TESTING:
“When he hath tried me.” :“The fining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold: but the LORD trieth the hearts” (Proverbs 17:3). This was God’s way with Israel of old, and it is His way with Christians now.
“When he hath tried me.” How frequently God’s saints see only Satan as the cause of their troubles. They regard the great enemy as responsible for much of their sufferings. But there is no comfort for the heart in this. We do not deny that the devil does bring about much that harasses us. But above Satan is the Lord Almighty! The devil cannot touch a hair of our heads without God’s permission; and when he is allowed to disturb and distract us, even then it is only God using him to “try” us. Let us learn then, to look beyond all secondary causes and instruments to that One Who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will (Eph 1:11). This is what Job did. In the opening chapter of the book that bears [Job’s] name, we find Satan obtaining permission to afflict God’s servant.
He used the Sabeans to destroy Job’s herds (Job 1:15); he sent the Chaldeans to slay his servants (1:17); he caused a great wind to kill his children (1:19). And what was Job’s response? This: he exclaimed, “The LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD” (1:21). Job looked beyond the human agents, beyond Satan who employed them, to the Lord Who controlleth all. He realized that it was the Lord trying him. We get the same thing in the New Testament. To the suffering saints at Smyrna John wrote, “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer; behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried” (Rev 2:10). Their being cast into prison was simply God “trying” them.
How much we lose by forgetting this! What a stay for the trouble-tossed heart to know that no matter what form the testing may take, no matter what the agent that annoys, it is God Who is “trying” His children. Dear reader, no matter how bitter its contents (infinitely less than that which the Savior drained), let us accept the cup as from the Father’s hand.
In some moods, we are apt to question the wisdom and right of God to try us. So often we murmur at His dispensations. Why should God lay such an intolerable burden upon me? Why should others be spared their loved ones, and mine taken? Why should health and strength, perhaps the gift of sight, be denied me? The first answer to all such questions is, “O man, who art thou that repliest against God?” (Rom 9:20)! It is wicked insubordination for any creature to call into question the dealings of the great Creator. “Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?” (Rom 9:20). How earnestly each of us needs to cry unto God that His grace may silence our rebellious lips and still the tempest within our desperately wicked hearts!
Again, in 1 Peter 4:12-13, we are told, “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings: that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.” The same thoughts are expressed here as in the previous passage. There is a needs-be for our “trials,” and therefore we are to think them not strange—we should expect them. And, too, there is again the blessed outlook of being richly recompensed at Christ’s return. Then, there is the added word that not only should we meet these trials with faith’s fortitude, but we should rejoice in them also, inasmuch as we are permitted to have fellowship in “the sufferings of Christ” (2 Cor 1:5). He, too, suffered: sufficient then, “for the disciple [to] be as his master” (Matthew 10:24-25).
“When he hath tried me.” Dear Christian reader, there are no exceptions. God had only one Son without sin, but never one without sorrow. Sooner or later, in one form or another, trial—sore and heavy—will be our lot.
“And sent Timotheus, our brother…to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith: That no man should be moved by these afflictions:
for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto” (1 Thessalonians 3:2-3).
TRIED BY FIRE by A.W. Pink (1886-1952) Courtesy of Chapel Library, used with permission. From Comfort for Christians, available as a paperback from CHAPEL LIBRARY.
A.W. Pink (1886-1952): Pastor, itinerant Bible teacher, author of Studies in the Scriptures and many books; born in Nottingham, England, immigrated to the U.S., and later returned to his homeland in 1934.