In the Hands of the Silversmith
I came across this verse today from the little-referenced-book of Malachi. In Chapter three it says: "God will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver." (Malachi 3:3)
We hear a lot of different things about God and about God’s nature. The Bible is filled with hundreds of different analogies and metaphors that try and describe God, but God as a silversmith? What’s that about?
Now, if you’re anything like me, silver smithing isn’t a profession that you’re particularly familiar with, that’s probably part of what makes this verse so strange. But as I was scrounging around for information about silversmiths, I came across this brief story, it’s about a women who read Malachi 3:3 and then went to interview her local silversmith.
“As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest as to burn away all the impurities.
She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined.
The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed.
The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, "How do you know when the silver is fully refined?"
He smiled at her and answered, "Oh, that's easy -- when I see my image in it"
The metaphor of God as a silversmith from Malachi reminds us that at times life can be difficult-- it can feel like we’ve been thrown into the hottest part of the fire, left to burn away. But just as a silversmith never takes their eyes off the silver, God never abandons us; God is always watching over us— even in the midst of our struggles.
And ultimately we are refined and matured by the trials we face. Just as silver reflects the image of the silversmith, when we grow in our faith and trust we come to reflect the image of God.
We are silver in the hands of a loving Creator-- a silversmith who refines and removes our rough spots so that we might shine beautifully and brightly in a world that is often filled with ugly realities.
Though trials may come, may we know that God’s eyes never leave us. And may we continue to grow in the ways that we reflect the image of God to the world. Amen.