The Lord Tests Hearts

Reading the Word

The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the Lord tests hearts.(Proverbs 17:3, ESV)

Understanding and Applying the Word

To purify precious metals, they must be heated to high temperatures so the dross can be consumed by the fire. This can be done using a crucible or a furnace. As the purity of silver and gold can be measured using these testing methods, God also tests the heart. He examines our desires and motives to know who we truly are. Are our lives pure and holy or only a show?

When we stand before the Lord, we stand with our hearts revealed in all of their purity or in all of their ugliness. There is nothing that can be hidden from God. He is all-knowing. We may be able to fool those around us with our actions that hide our true thoughts and feelings, but God knows us. He knows us to the very core. Let us pray that he would work in us to produce the holiness he desires in us so that he is glorified in every thought, word, and deed.

**If you enjoy reading Shaped by the Word, please consider sharing this post on social media. Doing so helps us reach a larger audience. Thanks for reading!

Follow Shaped by the Word on WordPress or Facebook.

Give to Him Glorious Praise

Psalm 662 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 66:1–5 (ESV)

1 Shout for joy to God, all the earth; 2 sing the glory of his name; give to him glorious praise! 3 Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies come cringing to you. 4 All the earth worships you and sings praises to you; they sing praises to your name.” Selah5 Come and see what God has done: he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Psalm 66 calls for all people to praise God for who He is and for what He has done. His name is glorious and He has displayed His great power for all to see. In the context of this psalm, God displayed His power when He brought the people out of Egypt and led them across the sea on dry ground (Psalm 66:6). He then delivered the people into the Promised Land that was overflowing with abundance (Psalm 66:12).

We too are called to marvel at who God is and to praise His wondrous deeds. We can give praise and thanks for His daily provision in our lives, for how He has brought us through specific trials, or for the promises that He has made to us for the future. These are all great things. But let us not forget our great deliverance. Psalm 66 looks back to the deliverance of the people from bondage in Egypt. We must continually look back to the cross and our deliverance from bondage to sin. Christ died to set us free and to deliver us into eternal life in a new heaven and new earth. Let us praise the name of our great God and remember His awesome deeds!

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

When I Cried to You for Help


Reading the Word

Psalm 31:19–24 (ESV)

19 Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of the children of mankind! 20 In the cover of your presence you hide them from the plots of men; you store them in your shelter from the strife of tongues. 21 Blessed be the Lord, for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me when I was in a besieged city. 22 I had said in my alarm, “I am cut off from your sight.” But you heard the voice of my pleas for mercy when I cried to you for help. 23 Love the Lord, all you his saints! The Lord preserves the faithful but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride. 24 Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!

Understanding and Applying the Word

In times of difficulty, it can be easy to say “I am cut off from your sight” just as David had done. It feels like God is distant and unaware of what is happening to us. It can cause us to feel hopeless.

Even though we may feel like God is distant, it simply is not true! He knows what is happening in our lives and he hears our prayers. David says, “But you heard the voice of my peas for mercy when I cried to you for help.” It may have seemed at the time that God had not heard, but he had. And at the end of this psalm, David encourages God’s people to praise him for his goodness and faithfulness to us. He will preserve his people. Let us take courage and wait for him!

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

A Relationship Test

Writing Write Person Paperwork Paper Notebook

Reading the Word

1 John 5:13–21 (ESV)

13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life. 14 And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him. 16 If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life—to those who commit sins that do not lead to death. There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that. 17 All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that does not lead to death. 18 We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him. 19 We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. 20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. 21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols.

Understanding the Word

John summarizes his reason for writing this letter in 1 John 5:13 when he says “I write these things to you who believe…that you may know that you have eternal life.” The purpose is assurance. It is being able to know for certain one’s relationship with God.

In these verses, John uses the word “know” seven times. Throughout the letter he uses it forty times. It is the theme of the letter.

Applying the Word

Most people believe that they will one day stand before God and give an account for their lives. They hope that they have done enough good things to outweigh the bad so that God will grant them an afterlife of eternal bliss rather than one of punishment.

The Bible tells us that we can know even now if we have eternal life with God. 1 John gives us tests that can help us know where we stand. A summary of the tests are as follows:

  1. Do you believe the right things about Jesus and do you trust in him? He was the Son of God born in the flesh and died as a sacrifice for our sins.
  2. Are you obedient to the word of God? This is not a way to gain favor with God, but a response to his grace.
  3. Do you love fellow believers? The one who has been given new life from the God of love should be loving also.

We do not have to wait until we die to know if our relationship with God is as it should be. The Bible helps us to know even now. Take the time to read through 1 John again so that you may know where you stand.

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!