Everything that may abide the fire, ye shall make to go through the fire. - Numbers 31:23
The great aim of this enactment was to render these articles ceremonially clean. They had been in the use of the Midianites, and required cleansing, before they could be appropriated by Israel. But the cleansing processes were to be determined by their texture. Fire for what would stand fire; water for what could not stand fire.
We must be thoroughly cleansed. - If a man will purge himself, he shall be a vessel unto honor, meet for the Master's use. Not clever- ness, but cleanliness, is the prime condition of service. Jesus will not put throne-water into impure and polluted receptacles. What fellow- ship hath Christ with Belial? We shall not be passed through fire, unless we can stand it. - Our faith is too precious to God to be exposed to risk. He will not let us be tempted beyond what we are able, lest we be dis- couraged, and make shipwreck. If, then, you are called at this time to pass through an unusually searching ordeal, be sure that your Heavenly Father knows that you can endure it. 'That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried by fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.' We must go through water, if not through fire. - The law provided also that 'all that abidethnot the fire, ye shall make go through the water.' The one is negative, the other positive; the first appertains to John the Baptist, the second to the Holy Spirit. The latter is the best; but be thankful, if you cannot endure it, that there is a discipline more tempered and gentle, which will yet render you meet for the handling of the Holy Saviour.