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The Furnace of Affliction by Dr. Dave Madenberg

The Furnace of Affliction

 

What's the definition of 'chasten?'   It's to correct, to discipline, or to purify --usually  through suffering.  

 

God said to David through Nathan the prophet, in 2Sam 7:14 , regarding David's son, Solomon:

"I will be his Father, and he shall be My son.  If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men  and  with the blows of the sons of men.  But My mercy shall not depart from him."

 

And God's word tells us in Heb 12:5-6,  "My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;  For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives."

 

On many occasion, God brought heathen nations and barbaric people against the Israelites to chasten them when they went astray. God used men as His rod of punishment.

And because God is the same yesterday, today and forever and doesn't change, He also uses His rod on us.

 

But, He doesn't punish the same as a ruthless, earthly father who takes delight in beating his kids.  God corrects those He loves  because He doesn't want us to veer from the path leading to heaven and to eternal life. 

But, does God bring wicked people against us as His only rod of correction? 

Or, does He use other rods to gain our attention  ...  such as illness?

 

For years, I blindly accepted the explanation given by some as to  'why'  we become ill;  that,  "Illness is just a part of life."

And yes, illness is a part of life.  But, it's more than just being a part of life.  I believe God uses  illness  to  'correct' and  to 'purify',  out of love and mercy. I'm not saying God causes the illness, but He uses it to purify us.

(Ex) For the past two + years, one of my dearest friends has been in and out of the hospital due to a disease called, 'acute myelogenous leukemia (AML).'   In most instances, AML quickly leads to death.  But, my friend keeps hanging on.

--My friend loves the Lord, and I know the Lord loves him.  I believe this illness is being used by God to further purify and ready my beloved friend for an assignment.  And he did receive a word that God would make him an ambassador to the nations.

 

(Ex)  For months, I've been battling an eye disease now beginning to distort my vision.  But, I believe God is using it to ready me for an assignment through this purification process.

(Ex)  Other believers in church are suffering from things such as post-operative pain, diabetes, high blood pressure, inflammatory bowel disease, enlarged prostate, musculoskeletal disorders, and a host of other afflictions.  We're all being prepared for an assignment, if we remain faithful and obedient to God -  trusting Him through our suffering.

 

-Are we suffering  through these sicknesses because God  delights in watching us suffer?    Or,  is He using illness:

-To get our attention? 

-To lead us back onto the path He wants us to walk?

-To teach us something through our suffering?

-To purify us, so we can be clean vessels prepared for His use?

-To get us ready for heaven?

Do we believe what God's word tells us in Rom 8:28

"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose."

As we suffer, as we bake  in God's  'furnace of affliction,'  God is using the heat to purify us.  He's getting us ready to meet Him, and to live with Him in heaven for eternity.   

We know God is Holy and can't look upon sin.  So, out of love, He removes the dross and the leaven in our lives with His rod of chastening.

 

God allows us to suffer and  'bake' for a season  in His  'refining fire'  because He loves us.   It's not because He's sadistic, as some people believe.   And through our time of suffering and purification,  Deut 31:8  tells us:  

"The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you;  he will never leave you nor forsake you.  Do not be afraid;  do not be discouraged.”

 

At times, God allows us to bake for longer periods - until He sees what He intends for us has been accomplished. 

Just as we might send back a plate of food that's not quite cooked, God may instruct His angel,  'Place him back into the oven ... he's not quite ready.'

 

God's  'furnace of affliction'  is not intended to destroy us, but to refine and to purify us.

 

The account of what happened to Shadrach, Meshech and Abednego is an example of God's love and mercy  while in the fire

Not only did the flames from the king's furnace  fail to harm or scorch them, but the Lord  was in the furnace  with them.   He did not leave them or forsake them, as He promises us when we're in the furnace being refined.

 

Isa 43:2 says:  "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.  When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you.  For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior..."

I'd like to end this message with a quote by Vaneetha Rendall Risner from the

The Furnace of Affliction

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