The ores from which metals are extracted are found in the earth's crust. The base metals are often found in large quantities but the precious metals are rare. When liquified in intense heat, waste matter, known as dross, comes to the surface and can be skimmed off. In Bible times gold was purified by being placed in a crucible which was held in the fire by a pair of pincers. The goldsmith blew the fire with a long, narrow tube or reed, to cause it to burn fiercely. Some metals were heated in a furnace, foot-bellows being used to intensify the heat.
The Word of God is likened to precious metal which has been fully refined; it is absolutely pure. Sometimes metals are mixed and an alloy is Produced. God's Word is unalloyed. David wrote in the book of Psalms about the purity of God's Word. Perhaps he had seen fully refined silver being poured from a crucible into moulds set in the earth. He said:
"The words of the LORD are pure words; as silver tried in a furnace on the earth, purified seven times" (Ps. 12:6). In another Psalm he wrote, "The judgements of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold" (Ps. 19:9,10).
Gold ornaments were found in the tomb of one of the Pharaohs as lustrous as when they were made, whilst some of the other contents had corroded or turned to dust. But even this precious metal is described in the Bible as "gold that perisheth". In contrast to this, "the word of the LORD abideth for ever". God's Word is above and beyond valuation. Do we prize these living oracles as w~ should?