Solomon brings a special kind of testing to our attention. This test concerns the heart of a man; in particular, a servant. It is a refining of a relationship.
We were going to take one verse at a time but I saw something that links verse 2 with verse 3. I saw the relationship between servant and master as being “forged”, or tried in the furnace. I almost decided to stick with what my bible helps outlined, but my Spirit kept calling out within me. I would rather go where the Spirit leads than follow a specific outline set out for me. Let’s see where He takes us today.
The crucible and furnace in verse 3 speak of a purification process, a testing of the substance’s inner strength. A burning away of all the impurities. The relationship described in verse 2 is forged in this same way. The bond, which started as simple servant and master, was refined over time in one another’s presence. The servant began to truly put the master’s welfare over his own. Not just as a job requirement but out of love.
The master, who initially provided for the servant’s needs, now sees the servant as much more. He sees him as a son or even a brother. The master is concerned for his servant’s future. He wants to make provisions for his servant. Provisions that would raise him above the status he currently offers.
Not every servant reaches this point. It takes someone who is willing to work without complaint, one who is trustworthy in all areas, and one who truly loves the master he is serving. The servant has to prove his value and commitment to the master and his causes.
Solomon tells us that some servants go so far beyond the standard relationship that they can actually take the place of a son who fails to meet his father’s standards. This isn’t simply forgetting to take the trash out but a habitual pattern of disobedience and disrespect. The son cares nothing for the work of the father. There is usually a divide between them before this makes it to the inheritance factor. I can imagine most any son would be aware of how deeply he had disappointed his father. I would also think that many opportunities to remedy the situation or change future behavior would have been offered. Only after all efforts to turn the son back to the father failed will the servant be inserted in his place.
God tries our hearts too. We walk through the fires of this life as He watches how we navigate our daily lives. What we do with the resources He gives us. Where our loyalties lie. Do we put Him FIRST above all else? Do we turn to Him for our approval? Is our bond unshakable?
This is the end result God wants to bring us to but we don’t start out there. Unlike the master who waits until the servant has proven his worth before bestowing the equivalent of son-ship, God calls us His sons and daughters the moment we give our lives to Him. HE works with our hearts, molding, shaping, refining, and finally firing them in the furnace along the journey. He does not remove that son-ship when we fail. He lifts us up again and helps us resume the process. But if we are unwilling to change, He won’t use us. His TRUE children lay their lives fully in His hands and desire with all their hearts to be more like Him every day.
That is where both relationships are forged. By daily putting the other’s needs and wants above your own. By strengthening the bonds of relationship with time together. By taking on the Master’s values as your own. By becoming a son or daughter to Him in every way.
Father God, this is the relationship I want in my life. I know You have been working on me for MANY years. I came to You as a child and You took me as Your own. But You have changed my heart in so many ways that I can’t even count them. I know there is still much more growing and refining to do in my life. And I KNOW that You will be with me every step of the way. Thank You for taking the time to refine me in the fire and for keeping me from burning up. I want to be 100% Your daughter!