Refining is the process of removing impurities so only the desired substance is left. All manner of foreign particles can limit the effectiveness of a material. In the case of silver, heat was the refining instrument, as it burned away all except the valuable metal.
God’s words are like this, completely pure of all imperfection. All other words are not like this, and in them reside more or less impurities. All words can then be divided into two categories: pure (God’s) and impure (ours). This isn’t to say all we say is wrong, just incomplete. At best it is purified a couple of times in a furnace, but never seven. No one speaks from God’s all-encompassing, all-wise perspective.
Where does that leave us? In a state of unknowing except by God’s Word. Everything is transitory and incomplete except God’s Word, which is complete. God’s Word is the only way by which we know reality without impurity.
If a jeweler frequently deals with pure silver, then he can quickly spot a less-pure product when it is brought in to his shop. However, if his exposure to pure silver is infrequent and minimal, less-pure items will evade his detection. It’s only later when he sees pure silver again that he realises he’s been duped again. Frequent exposure to the pure is the jeweler’s wisest option to avoid monetary loss, and our wisest option to avoid spiritual loss.
Help, Lord, for no faithful one remains;
the loyal have disappeared from the human race.
They lie to one another;
they speak with flattering lips and deceptive hearts.
May the Lord cut off all flattering lips
and the tongue that speaks boastfully.
They say, “Through our tongues we have power;
our lips are our own—who can be our master?”
“Because of the devastation of the needy
and the groaning of the poor,
I will now rise up,” says the Lord.
“I will provide safety for the one who longs for it.”
The words of the Lord are pure words,psalm xii (csb)
like silver refined in an earthen furnace,
purified seven times.
You, Lord, will guard us;
you will protect us from this generation forever.
The wicked prowl all around,
and what is worthless is exalted by the