Tuesday, April 17, 2012

What is fullers' soap anyway?

Reading the Old Testament with the seminary kids. Here are some verses that gave me great food for thought today:

Malachi 3:2-3 But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap; And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.

So I know what the refiner's fire is. Great heat, burning out the impurities, etc, etc. But what is fullers' soap?

Thank you, google search. On the website of the Church of God's Daily Study, fullers and their tools were described in this way:

"A fuller was someone who cleaned and thickened (to make it "full") freshly-woven (usually woolen) cloth. The process involved cleaning, bleaching, wetting and beating the fibers to a consistent and desirable condition. Fuller's earth was a variety of clay that was used to scour and cleanse the cloth. Fuller's soap was an alkali made from plant ashes which was also used to clean and full new cloth. Since fullers required plenty of running water, along with the natural substances described, a fuller's field was a place where all were available for the fullers to conduct their profession."

So a relationship with the Lord will act to 'clean, bleach, wet and beat' our spiritual fibers to a 'consistent and desirable condition.'

The goal is for us to become 'full'--consistent and desirable. Like the purifying process, it probably isn't much fun at the time, but it works to prepare us to 'make an offering in righteousness' when He arrives.

That puts daily trials and the wickedness around us in a whole new light for me, both for myself and for my children.

It is easy to think Satan is winning in the world right now. There is a lot of wickedness keeping Heavenly Father's children from knowing and coming to the Savior. However, if we can help them come to a knowledge of Him--not just activity in the Church, but gain a testimony and an understanding of the Gospel and a real relationship with Jesus Christ--then they will be made 'full' over time, and their testimonies will become pure and thick and deep.

And this happens not just in spite of the wicknedness around them, but often because of it. When we turn away from sin, we choose for ourselves righteousness.

The cleaning and bleaching come to all of us differently. At the very least, it involves learning to turn away from the things of the world and turning to the Lord. Sometimes it is trials we don't ask for, and sometimes it comes as we make mistakes and then repent.

As parents, it seems like we can help this process by putting the things of God first in our own lives and in our families, taking time to read and pray and go to church and have family home evening and repent.

Pretty awesome and motivating stuff to understand, I think!