Nothing Like Fire

“The pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night did not depart from before the people.” Exodus 13:22

“For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.” “Know therefore today that he who goes over before you as a consuming fire is the Lord your God. He will destroy them and subdue them before you.” Deuteronomy 4:24; 9:3

“Behold, the name of the Lord comes from afar,
    burning with his anger, and in thick rising smoke; his lips are full of fury,
    and his tongue is like a devouring fire;
his breath is like an overflowing stream
    that reaches up to the neck;
to sift the nations with the sieve of destruction…

You shall have a song as in the night when a holy feast is kept, and gladness of heart, as when one sets out to the sound of the flute to go to the mountain of the Lord, to the Rock of Israel. And the Lord will cause his majestic voice to be heard and the descending blow of his arm to be seen, in furious anger and a flame of devouring fire, with a cloudburst and storm and hailstones.” Isaiah 30:27-30

“Our God is a consuming fire.” Hebrews 12:29

There is nothing like a fire. Nothing like crunching over icy snow, stomping off boots, and coming through an open door to warmth, to sit by a fire. There is nothing like the blaze and glow that dances, mesmerizes, continually changes, that thaws harshness and cares of the day, and flickers into motion dreamy meandering. The stone hearth beckons, the fireglow captivates, the heat soothes as it sinks in.

But fire has its harsh side. As the holy blaze of light draws us near, we see the consuming fire as hotly jealous for us, full of fury at all that steals our affection from Him. In righteous anger, this fire goes before us to destroy the enemy, and sometimes is so close we get burned. God as our consuming fire is worthy of respect. (Exodus 13:21-22)

The Word’s fire guides, and guards. It teaches us the pain of catching a wayward spark, and the hypnotic paralysis of looking too long without acting on the light we glean. It convicts of sin, and goads us to righteousness. God as our constant fire is worthy of trust. (Psalm 119:11; Jeremiah 20:9; 23:29)

The Spirit’s fire burns away rebellion and resentment, softens hearts of stone into flesh. As it warms it melts resistance into repentance, guilt into freedom, and shame into acceptance. It envelops, enlightens, and encourages. We absorb its blaze of insight, warmth of compassion, and power of divine love for the unlovable. It attracts others to Jesus’ light by our peaceful countenance, patience, and lovingkindness. God as our spiritual fire is worthy to be sought and savored. (Ezekiel 36:26; Acts 9:31; Romans 8:1; Ephesians 1:16-18; 1 Peter 2:9)

From what cold does God’s fire beckon? Have my love for God frozen because of my suffering? Have I coddled a cold heart toward one who has wronged or hurt me? Have I abandoned my spiritual fire to fizzle by neglect and busyness? Do I put off friends who would stoke faith embers back to life, choosing instead to relish my sin? When will I return to the hearth?

Lord my fire, separate from me the dross of sin, lead me by Your light, and burn brightly to all around as the splendid glory in my midst. (Zechariah 2:5)

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