July 2, 2020 by Steven Lulich
The words of the Lord are pure words,
Like silver refined in a furnace on the ground,
Purified seven times.
As a child growing up out West, I remember panning for gold a handful of times. I never found anything worth writing home about, but it was still a fun experience. In all the history of North American gold rushes, most hauls were not much better than my own. And yet the promise of gold was enough to motivate hundreds and thousands of men and women to sell all they had, journey to a distant unknown land, and pick and scrape through the dirt and rock. Only after they had collected a sufficient quantity would they bring their treasures to the assayer’s office to determine its quality. Only after all of their sacrifices and hard work would they find out if their treasure was worth the effort.
The words of Lord are not like that. The assayer has already judged them to be of unsurpassable quality – like silver purified seven times in an earthen furnace. And not only is their value assured beforehand, but the place of their hiding is not far away across rivers, mountains, and seas. “The word is very near you” (Deut. 30:14, Rom. 10:8), if not in your heart then at least at your local bookseller. If I am willing to risk everything in pursuit of the vanishing smoke of an improbable dream, how much more should I be ready to pour all my resources into the guaranteed investment of the words of the Lord? Having found a treasure hidden in a field, or a pearl of great price, shall I not sell all that I have to procure it (Matt. 13:44-46)? Shall I not take counsel from “the faithful and true witness … to buy from [Him] gold refined by fire” (Rev. 3:14-18)?
And what if I do not have the skill to appreciate the quality of silver and gold for myself? Are the words of the Lord really so precious? Ah, but if I am content to trust the human assayer of precious metals, why should I not also trust the divine assayer of the words of the Lord? In both cases, faith is the fulcrum upon which the scales tip; remove it, and you can have no sure assay. “The word is near you … the word of faith that we proclaim” (Rom. 10:8). Let me accept this word, let me study it, let me immerse myself in it, and let me pick and scrape my way through its rich strata.