Fire…mentioned throughout the Bible with varied significance. My interest about fire peaked, recently, after a Daniel bible study. I learned about the courageous faith of Daniel’s three Jewish friends who were thrown into the blazing fire when they would not bow down to King Nebuchadnezzar’s golden image (Daniel chapter 3). God not only rescued them, but suspected to have walked among them (vv25-27).
We know God shows his guiding presence in fire. Remember Moses and the burning bush (Exodus 3:2-4) and pillar of fire for light (Exodus 13:21, Nehemiah 9:12,19, Psalm 78:14)? The fire was on the tabernacle at night, which is where God dwells with his people (Exodus 40:38, Numbers 9:15-16).
God protects his chosen people from the fire of oppression (Isaiah 43:2b) and on Mount Carmel, faithful prophet Elijah calls on the name of his Lord, the God who answers by fire (1Kings 18:23-24, 38). Throughout the Old Testament, burnt offerings signify propitiation for sin and a devotion/commitment to God. Thank you, Jesus, we don’t need to do that anymore!
God is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29) and a jealous God (Deuteronomy 4:24), using fire to burn images of other gods (Deuteronomy 7:25). Fire can indicate God’s judgment. He rained fire and brimstone on the sinful cities of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:24), saving Lot as he fled to Zoar. Fire was used to consume Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, who died because the boys offered strange fire before the Lord (Leviticus 10:1-2).
When God’s spirit enters our soul, there is a fire burning inside us with flames growing higher and brighter as we live for him. Invite God’s fire into your life. Spend time knowing him by reading his word, in prayer and worship.
Relating to last month’s column, faith is the key to not walk in fear and when you take up the shield of faith, you will be able to extinguish the fiery darts of evil (Ephesians 6:16). This means there will be spiritual warfare as you walk closer with Jesus and as I mentioned in the April 2 column, people will turn against you. Peter says we have to go through the fire for something better (1Peter 4:12-13). Eternal life in Heaven with our Lord is worth it!
The New Testament recounts a different direction…into the unquenchable fire that is in hell (Mark 9:43) and Matthew 25:41 refers to the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. Yes, Satan has angels, too (perhaps a topic for future discussion). There’s a whole list of unbelieving persons with a future in the “lake that burns with fire and brimstone” (Rev 21:8).
Don’t take this route!
Let’s talk about your choices: [email protected]
Special request…please join me on Sunday, June 13 in prayer and appreciation for law enforcement officers, who daily “face the fires” and put their lives on the line to protect us.
I close, in the fruit of the spirit given to all believers: peace, love, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control (Galatians 5:2).