9 And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God.
Zechariah is a visionary, or at least he sees visions. He was making his prophecies about the same time as yesterday’s man Haggai, namely about 520 to 518 BC.
He talks about the restoration of Jeruslaem, but not in the way Haggai did. Zechariah sees whole scale destruction before the land is visited once more by peace. There will be a huge conflagration in which two thirds of the people will perish, hence the third referred to in the first part of the verse above.
The rest won’t have it easy either!
They will be refined and tested.
In the ancient world working with precious metals was always a small scale operation. The silversmith would melt down a small measure of impure silver in a pan over a very hot fire. As the silver and other materials heated up they would separate and the impurities float to the top, where the silversmith would remove them without losing any of his precious silver. It was a long and intense process, the silversmith spending the whole time hanging his head close to the bubbling brew. He knew that only pure silver was left when he could see his face reflected on the surface of the hot metal.
God was preparing his people to be refined when he could see himself reflected in them, then he would know they were his people once more, and all the impurities that had caused all the problems of the past would be gone.
Gold was tested by being dipped in strong acid; if pure it would withstand.
God was not going easy on his people, but he knew that if they came through the testing times their hearts would be pure and strong enough to receive his Blessings
We may feel ourselves being tested, but always remember it is only by the heat and the acid that the purest and most valuable of metals can become what they should be, and shine in beauty.
Lord God, our loving Father in Heaven, we sometimes feel the time of testing is something we cannot endure, but you know what we can and can’t withstand, so help make us pure that we might reflect your glory and be worthy of your craftsmanship.
In your Mercy hear our prayer,