Friday, February 4, 2011

QQC--God Is a Consuming Fire

Quirks, Queries and Commentary—Exodus 24:15-18

 After the three priests and 70 elders returned to camp, where the rest of the nation was waiting, Moses went up the mountain and God's glory covered it.  His glory appeared to the Israelites as a consuming fire.  

Interestingly, in the letter to the Hebrews in the New Testament, the writer of that book says, "our God is a consuming fire."  

"At that time," referring to Mount Sinai, "[God's] voice shook the earth, but now [in the Christian era] he has promised, 'Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.'  The words 'once more' indicate the removing of what can be shaken--that is, created things--so that what cannot be shaken may remain." (Hebrews 12:26, 27 NIV)

The removing of what can be shaken.  Other parts of the Bible talk about how God refines us.  How is anything refined?  In fire--the fire that consumes all that can be burned so that all that remains is the pure gold or silver that cannot be destroyed.  

There are other places where God is likened to fire.  When Israel was leaving Egypt, "by day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud...and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light." (Exodus 13:21 NIV)

Ezekiel describes "the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord" as a man-like figure that was molten metal from the waist up and like fire from the waist down. (1:25-28)

When we draw near to God, his presence consumes us.  I wonder if the "everlasting fire" to which the wicked are sent might not be the presence of God.  For the unredeemed, the presence of God may in fact be hell, since they have spent their lives on earth staying as far from God as they could.

Our God is a consuming fire.  How close to this fire are you willing to come?  How much of yourself are you willing for God to consume?  When he is done, would there be gold or would you be completely destroyed because there's only straw?


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