The Lord’s promises are pure, like silver refined in a furnace, purified seven times over.
Relate: It is crazy how the mind works. A year ago on this day, I was in the Philippines. At the time I was just beginning to understand that I was not going to be in Turkey forever. Up to that point, I had been convinced that I would be living the rest of my days in that country I still consider home. But there was a stirring inside that God would be doing something new and I was visiting the Philippines, more specifically APTS (Asia Pacific Theological Seminary), to explore what might be coming next. When the thought of continuing my schooling first started rising, this seminary was my top choice. It is crazy how that was only a year ago. With everything 2020 threw at us, it seems so much further back.
Anyway, when looking at today’s reading, I started thinking on what I know about silver. Humans first started mining it about seven thousand years ago and about a thousand years ago they first started using heat to purify it and separate out the lead it is usually mixed with. At one time in ancient Egypt, silver was considered more valuable than gold. Silver is incredibly and even an ounce of it can be shaped into an incredibly long wire. A quick google search could probably tell you exactly how long but off my head, I know that it is a lot. Although it is incredibly reflective, I’m pretty sure it was not often used for mirrors. I’m pretty sure there are plenty of cheaper materials to use instead.
But the thing about silver that came to mind as I started reflecting was how Manila, and pretty much the entire Philippines, owe their existence to the silver trade. The Spanish found silver mines in Mexico and Peru far larger than any known to the European world up to that point in time. While some of it went back to their homeland, a large chunk actually headed off in the opposite direction. At the time China was going through one of its protectionist phases. They were so insistent that their people not trade with foreigners that they actually forced large segments of their population to move inland away from the coast. Even still, they needed Spanish silver like it was nobody’s business. So the Philippines became a stopping place for the illicit (then legal, then illicit, then legal then…) trade between Chinese silk and goods and Spanish silver. Thus Manila, today considered the 16th largest city in the world, was born.
React: Last year in Manila, I didn’t get the answers I wanted. I knew that APTS was not to be my next step, and I was pretty sure that I would be moving on, but there was no “This is the way, walk in it” type direction. There was no promise of where and what would be next. I’ve been doing my best to walk in what I know, but a year later there is still no clear cut direction. Even still, there are other promises that, just like pure silver, I can take right to the bank. This promise in Psalms 12 is that God will help the poor and helpless and protect the oppressed. I know that in one way or another, I will always be a part of that. It is what makes me tick. Also, God will be with me wherever I go (Josh 1:9), though I stumble I will not fall (Psalms 37:4), if trust Him, God will make my paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6). No matter where we are in our walk in life, there are promises of God we can hang our hat on that are as good as gold. Silver. I meant silver. Yeah.
Your Word is good and true. If You have promised it, then it will be. I know that. Help me to hang on to Your promises even when I do not have anything else to hold on to. Help me to trust Your word even in the waiting. And just as Your promises are as pure as refined silver, I ask that You would refine me as well. Let me be a part of the answer to the promises you have made to help the needy and protect the oppressed.
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To read previous devotionals taken from the January 14th The River Walk devotionals click below: