The Process of Forging

God sees more in you, than you often see in yourself!

When life seems out of control it’s tempting just to put your head down and place one foot in front of the other and do your best to simply survive the moment until the season passes and some sense of normalcy returns. 

That’s how it was for a man in ancient Israel named Gideon.

An invading people called the Midianites were terrorizing the land of Israel.  They would come in like a swarm of locusts during the harvest season and pillage the land. Over and over again the Jewish citizens would call out to God for help and then be disappointed when He did not respond in the timely manner they desired.  

The day finally came when God approached Gideon. 

Judges 6: 11-14, The angel of the Lord came, and he sat under the oak that was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash, the Abiezrite. His son Gideon was threshing wheat in the winepress in order to hide it from the Midianites. 12 Then the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said, “The Lord is with you, valiant warrior.”

This is interesting.  Gideon was fearful and attempted to solve his problem by using human wisdom.  When you threshed wheat in ancient times, you needed to be on a hill with a strong breeze.  One would use his pitchfork to cast the cut wheat into the air, the wind would then blow the lighter chaff to the side and the heavier head of grain would fall straight down and be collected.  

Yet here we find Gideon threshing wheat in a winepress.  A winepress was dug into the ground and used to press the juice out of the grape and collect for the fermentation process.  There’s not much wind going to blow down in a hole. 

While Gideon is working diligently to thresh wheat while hiding in a winepress, the Angel of the LORD stops by. Perhaps it is my own mischievous nature, but I have to wonder if the Angel of the LORD didn’t have a slight grin on his face as he said, “The Lord is with you, valiant warrior!”  Gideon surely did not seem very valiant in the moment. 

However, God was letting GIdeon know that He saw more in him, than he saw in Himself.  

It’s the same with you.

No matter where you are, or what you are going through, God sees more in you than you see in yourself.

Through a process of test and trial, God knew that he was about to use the pressure that Gideon was under to transform him from a fearful farmer to a fearless faithful warrior. 

The principles that God used in developing the character of Gideon are the same principles He uses to transform each of us into the faithful servant He has planned for us to be.  In fact, God works in our lives like a master forger who can take hardened steel and mold it into a image useful for His purposes.  

Let’s reflect on the process God uses to forge us into the faithful follower He has called us to by examining the process in the life of Gideon.


How many of you have heard the term, trial by fire? 

The art of Forging iron is molding metal into a desired shape and to do so, the master uses heat to soften the metal.

It’s interesting that forging iron can be traced back 6000 years to Mesopotamia.

The key is to heat the metal high enough to make it malleable (soft), but not so much that it begins to melt.  The temperature and the timing must be precise.  To forge iron, the right temperature is around 2500 degrees. 

Sometimes God will turn up the heat in your life.  When He does,  it’s not enjoyable, but know this, there is always a purpose. 

God uses pressure to HUMBLE you. 

The late Dr. Adrian Rogers would say, “God can’t use a man that He can’t shape.”  

The truth is that we are sinful.  The prophet Jeremiah wrote,  17: 9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?” (Jereimiah 17:9, NKJV).

The only way we for God to shape us is to first soften our hard hearts.  

 God uses pressure to PURIFY you.

The first century disciple Peter would write, 

You are being guarded by God’s power through faith for a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 You rejoice in this, even though now for a short time, if necessary, you suffer grief in various trials 7 so that the proven character of your faith—more valuable than gold which, though perishable, is refined by fire—may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1: 5-7).

Here Peter refers to God refining our character the same way a forger refines the metal, by turning up the heat. 

Another first century Apostle named James instructed that God uses this refining process to bring about maturity and wisdom in our lives. He wrote,  

 Consider it a great joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you experience various trials, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing (James 1: 2-4).

God uses pressure to SHAPE your Character.

Let’s go back to the process of forging.  Once the master has used the right amount of heat to soften and purify the metal, the next step involves the HAMMER and ANVIL to shape it.

Shaping the metal takes time, energy, pressure and sweat!  

We see God use this process with Gideon by putting him through a series of tests.

To begin with, Giden was told to tear down the false idols in the land of Israel, including the one owned by his own father!  Then he had to recruit an army.  He did a fair job at this.  He recruited about 32,000 men ready to fight for their liberation from Midan.  Then God told him he had too many to fight with.  This surely alarmed Gideon.  Midian was known to have an army of around 135,000 soldiers.  Yet God dwindled Gideon’s army from  32,000 to 300!  Talk about being forced to trust God!  

The next step could not have made sense to Gideon.  God said for he and his army to take a lit torch and a clay pitcher to the battle and just at the right time to attack, they were to hold up their torch, scream, and break their clay pot. 

The amazing fact to remember is that when you are going through a test, remind yourself that the God you serve is able to do whatever He chooses.  God put Gideon in a situation that he had to trust God or he would fail.  

On that night, God brought fear and confusion into the camp of Midian and 300 Israelites chased out 135,000 Midianite soldiers. 

Now, the final step for the forger is the Quenching Bucket. 

The forger will take the heated, shaped metal and place it in cool mineral oil or water to quickly cool and harden the steel.

Here is a wonderful truth to meditate on…

God will REFRESH your Spirit.

God knows how long you can remain in the heat and under the pressure and so at the right time, He will cool you down and refresh your spirit so take courage!   

God sees more in you than you see in yourself.  You can trust Him through the trials, the tests, the pressures of life and in the end, You will see that He has been developing your character to look more like His.  He is the Shepherd of your soul and He will complete the work He has started in you (Philippians 1:6).

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