But the Lord has taken you and brought you out of the iron furnace, out of Egypt, to be His people, an inheritance, as you are this day. (Deuteronomy 4:20)
The nations of the world have always and still do what is right in their own eyes. With God’s people it is not to be so. We are called to be a light to the nations which means that we must be careful to always do what is right in God’s eyes. This mandate is accentuated by the fact that God took Israel out of “the iron furnace, out of Egypt.” I say that because the term rendered as “iron furnace” or “crucible” refers to that which is used to purge gold of any foreign matter. In other words, if we are to be the light we must be purified of anything that would dull that light.
The verb form of the Hebrew word translated as “furnace” means to “purify, to repair and to correct.” Its’ raw meaning is related to something that is “dug” or “bored,” implying a pit that is used as a crucible or furnace. That Egypt is associated with the furnace from which Israel was plucked is interesting as well because Egypt represents the intense suffering that, from God’s point of view, was intended to purge them of base instincts, idolatry and rebellion. In other words, Egypt and Pharaoh served the purpose of readying Israel to conform to His will by provoking them to purge “Egypt” from their lives.
I would recommend that the same principle applies to us today, meaning that we all to one degree of the other, have allowed “Egypt” to infiltrate our lives. And like it was with ancient Israel, God will orchestrate situations that become our “crucible” — a furnace of affliction — designed to purge rebellion and every other contaminant from our lives that we may be an authentic reflection of his light. Thus, the Messiah tells the congregation of Laodicea, “I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich…. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent” (Revelation 3:18-19). So then, let us be zealous to repent of any and all things that would dull the light in our lives that the Light of the World would shine in and through us to the glory of God.
Blessings and Shalom,