Hebrew Highlights 101 Tested by Fire
Shalom, this is Yuval Shomron, coming to you from Jerusalem.
1PE 1:3-9, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.”
Many of us today would rather skip the phrase, “tested by fire”. It sounds tremendously painful and frightening. In case you’re wondering, there is no painless way to translate the word “fire”. It is one of the shortest words in Hebrew, “esh”. It is made up of only two root letters, which interestingly enough are found in the two words “ish” and “isha” or, man and woman. I guess there is a little fire in each of us.
We should look at the “testing by fire” as a promise, rather than a threat. For instance, in 1CO 3:11-15, we read, “For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds upon the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man's work will become evident; for the day will show it, because it is to be revealed with fire; and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work. If any man's work which he has built upon it remains, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work is burned up, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, yet so as through fire.”
In both of these passages, the final result of the testing of our faith by fire is salvation itself. I would suggest to you that the end justifies any means. By the way, this testing is not an original idea in the New Testament. ZEC 13:9 says, "And I will bring the third part through the fire, Refine them as silver is refined, And test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, And I will answer them; I will say, 'They are My people,' And they will say, 'The Lord is my God.'"
There is another picture of fire in the Bible which is also often sidestepped by many disciples. Remember MAT 3:11?, "As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”
Most believers have taken the necessary and blessed step of being immersed in water. Many have also prayed for a special filling of the Holy Spirit. Both of these baptisms are soft, soothing, and simple. I wonder how many of us have prayed, “Lord, please baptize me with fire!?” On the other hand, we may be able to recall experiences in our life that, in hindsight, we might file under this category of trials of our faith.
I have an idea that there is some sort of a notion that if we are good boys and girls, we can skip being tested by fire. However, if this process were skipped in the refining of gold, it would not be very pure. In fact, every time gold goes through the fire, it gets better and more valuable.
Let’s look at one more scripture about fire. DAN 3:24-25, “Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astounded and stood up in haste; he responded and said to his high officials, "Was it not three men we cast bound into the midst of the fire?" They answered and said to the king, "Certainly, O king." He answered and said, "Look! I see four men loosed and walking about in the midst of the fire without harm, and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods!"
Don’t be afraid of the fire. Yeshua will always be by your side!
Shalom, shalom from Jerusalem.