Endure · Father God · Love · purification · Refine · Sanctification · Suffering · Trials

it stinks…

…behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap.

Malachi 3:1-2 ESV

The Word made flesh… He is coming again one day… and the passing of every day… brings The Day… one… day… closer…

But who will be able to stand…? endure…? His refining fire…? His fuller’s soap…?

Well the refining fire I get… Who can stand before that…? It’s painful… hot… burns up whatever impurity remains… but what about this fuller’s soap…?

I’ve read it before… heard it before… however… I must have been distracted by the heat of the fire to give much thought to… soap

Soap for the most part brings images of warm water… glistening white bubbles… perhaps a loofah for scrubbing away dirt… grime… dead skin…

This morning… in the reading of Daily Light*… it catches my attention… so I seek some meaning in the words…

Merriam-Webster’s tells me… a fuller is one who fulls…

full verb transitive… to shrink and thicken (woolen cloth) by moistening, heating, and pressing

This process I know a bit about… felting is something like this…

Felting involves knitting a project… making it much larger than your final dimensions… because when you are finished you wash it in hot water… which shrinks it to thicken the material… make it more substantial… stronger… then block it… to keep its shape…

Wool is often felted… for jackets and bags…

Now I can see how this might be a bit uncomfortable… but not to the degree of a fire for refining silver…

I’m moved to see what the Bible dictionary has to say…

FULLER One who cleans, shrinks, thickens, or dyes cloth or newly shorn wool. It was the fuller’s job to prepare fibers used for weaving by cleansing them of oil and other impurities. The cleansing materials the fuller used were white clay, urine, and ashes of special plants. The fuller’s plant lay outside the town because of the offensive odors and because space was needed for spreading the fibers to dry…

–Tyndale Bible Dictionary

The definition adds greater depth to the meaning… Who can stand…?

This process is messy… stinky… business…! Apparently the odor could knock you over…

So I think about the fuller’s job… taking raw wool… right off the stinking dirty sheep… and working it… washing it… refining it… into something useful…

Wool-Fuller-Stinky-Jeremiah's Menu-Sanctification

Photo by Ariana Prestes on Unsplash

Because right off the sheep… it’s not really good for anything…

Only in the process of combing… cleaning… pulling… spinning… can it be made into yarn…

Fuller's soap-Refine-Purify-Jeremiah's Menu-stinks.jpg

Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

But yarn in and of itself isn’t too useful…

Yarn must be woven… knit… crocheted… into something useful… something that serves… like a sweater… or bag…

The morning’s verses focused on the refining… purifying… God does in our lives…

They reminded He is the Father who disciplines… the Gardener who prunes… all for the purpose of removing the useless… and making us use-full… to serve in His Kingdom… bear fruit for His glory…

But the refining process… is painful… stinky… messy… business…

How often do we receive a trial of discipline… the fire of refining… like the teen who says to the taking away of his phone… This stinks…!

Well… apparently… it’s supposed to…

And those who endure on the Day He returns… are those who recognize… and receive His refining daily…

All trials come from the Father’s hand… to help us grow in His grace and love…

But with each trial… like a child… we have the option to receive it as training from a loving Father… or push back in rebellion…

Sanctification… it stinks… unless we see it for what it truly is…

…we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Romans 5:3-5 ESV

* This morning’s Daily Light readings… John 15:2Malachi 3:2-3Romans 5:3-5Hebrews 12:7-8, 11-12

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