This week's Devotional: Refined in a Furnace

And the words of the LORD are flawless, like silver refined in a furnace of clay, purified seven times.
PSALM 12:6 

These are the words that are brought to us in Scripture. They are flawless—without error‚ totally and absolutely reliable.

Do you perhaps wonder at that statement, knowing that these words have come to us through human agents, men who were weak and fallible, and who made many mistakes? (Often, in fact, their mistakes were actually recorded in Scripture.) How then can it be that the Bible’s message is absolutely infallible and authoritative?

To answer this question, David presents us with a vivid picture—a picture of silver being purified in an oven of clay. (Such clay ovens are still used among the people of the Middle East today.) In David’s picture there are three main elements: the furnace of clay; the silver that is to be purified; and the purifying fire.

The furnace of clay represents the human instruments through whom the message of Scripture is brought. The silver represents the message itself. The purifying fire represents the work of the Holy Spirit. The silver is purified “seven times.” In Scripture the number seven is particularly associated with the Holy Spirit. In his vision on Patmos, for example, John saw the Holy Spirit as “seven lamps of fire” (Revelation 4:5 KJV). Secondarily, the number seven suggests completeness or perfection.

As the words of Scripture come to us through the furnace of human clay, they have been completely purified by the fire of the Holy Spirit. The “dross” of human error has been fully purged. Thus they are flawless. “For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21).

Faith’s Response

The law from your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold (Psalm 119:72).

This devotional is taken from


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