Fire - Useful And Damaging (Part 2)
By sis Leong Mei Ji
Fire Is frequently associated with God
In Ezekiel 1:27, we read about the one who sat upon the throne whose appearance was “like gleaming metal, like the appearance of fire enclosed all around”
In Daniel’s vision we read, “His throne was fiery flames; its wheels were burning fire. A stream of fire issued and come out from before him” (Daniel 7:9-10).
When God descended on Mount Sinai, “The appearance of the LORD’S glory to the Israelites was like a consuming fire on the mountaintop” (Exodus 24:17).
The God of fire
The Greek “god of fire” is Hephaestus, one of the sons of Zeus, but he’s a lower case “g” god, that is a fake god! Do we know who the real “God of fire” is, with an upper case “G?”
In Daniel 3, Nebuchadnezzar was furious with the unwavering faith of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, so he had his fiery furnace heated "seven times more than it was usually heated," until it was "exceedingly hot." The king’s mighty men of valor, who cast the three Hebrews into the fire, were killed by the flame (Daniel 3:22), but the three Hebrews were completely unaffected by the flames, the heat, or even "the smell of fire" (3:24-27). There could be only one explanation: it is the works of the uppercase "G" God, "The God of Fire" (Daniel 3:28-29)!
God's “Wall of Fire”
The Great Wall of China, which is 1,500 miles long was built to protect the people against raids by nomadic people and invasions by rival states.
In Zechariah chapter 2, we read about another wall of protection. Zechariah had a vision of a man with a measuring line, who was trying to determine the length and width of Jerusalem. The man was told that this would not be necessary because the number of God’s people would be so great that Jerusalem’s walls would not be able to contain them. Besides, they would not need walls, for the Lord promised: “I will be a wall of fire all around her, and I will be the glory in her midst” (Zechariah 2:5).
Physical walls can be scaled or broken through, no matter how high or strong they are. But as God’s children, we have the best wall of protection anyone can have — God’s presence. Nothing can pass through to us without first passing through Him and His will. In Him, we are safe and secure. Safety is not found in the absence of danger but in the presence of God (Psalm 23:4; Psalm 27:1).
God is a “Consuming Fire”
It is not just the presence of God that is frequently associated with fire, but fire is also connected with God’s wrath against sin. One of the instances we read about this is when Nadab and Abihu offered unauthorized fire and the Lord sent fire from heaven to consume them (Leviticus 10:1-2).
In Deuteronomy 9:3, Moses recorded, “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. So, you shall drive them out and make them perish quickly, as the LORD has promised you.”
Because God is a consuming fire, we can derive great benefits from Him. He can defeat foes who are greater than us. Those who oppose us can be driven out by God. Only God has the power to defeat any foe. God will consume those who commit violence. God will bring down the sinners. God will wipe out evil. God will judge the evil. Therefore, we leave things in God’s hands to judge those who disobey Him. Our God is a consuming fire and this is an encouragement to His people.
Fire is also frequently associated with the Word of God
God’s Word is like fire
“Is not My word like a fire?” says the Lord (Jeremiah 23:29). It is important to understand whose words are under consideration in this question. These are not the words of Jeremiah per se. They are the words of God through Jeremiah’s mouth. It is important to recognize where the power comes from. It is not from the messenger. It is from the message.
Ponder for a moment how valuable light is to you and me. It helps us to see in darkness, gives direction, keeps us from stumbling, and helps us to feel safe as we fear things that we cannot see in the dark.
The light that is set forth from God’s Word is important. The Psalmist says in Psalms 119:130, “The entrance of thy word giveth light; it giveth understanding to the simple” and, in Psalms 119:105, the Psalmist says,” Thy word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path.” God’s Word sheds light on our lives as it allows us to see the direction we should follow.
Christians are portrayed as ones taken from darkness into light. Those in darkness are under the influence of Satan and those in the light are under the influence of God. Today there are many walking in darkness and going in the wrong direction.
God’s Word Pierces
We know that fire has a lot of power. A fire that is hot enough can penetrate anything. It has the power to burn right through metal.
God’s Word is like fire because it is able to pierce through the hardest hearts. It can cut both ways, going and coming, like a two-edged sword. When the Word of God penetrates the hearts of man, one of two things will occur: 1) Acts 2:37 says, “Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” OR 2) Acts 5:33 says, “When they heard this, they were furious and plotted to kill them.”
God’s Word Purifies
We know that fire separates precious metals from dross by burning the impurities away. Fire purifies, so does the Word of God (John 15:3). Because it purifies, cleanses, and removes the dirt of sin, God's Word is like fire (Ephesians 5:26-27). We must use God's Word to purify our lives and burn away the impurities. We need “the fire of God” to douse sinfulness. However, we cannot be purified by God's Word unless we obey it. It will save us if we obey it. It will destroy us if we disobey it. The Word of God has the power to save or to destroy us depending on how we respond to it. We will be judged by the “fire” (Word) of God.
God's Word is Like A Firewall
As Christians, one of the ways Satan seeks to destroy us is by infecting our minds with the virus of sin. And for this very reason the apostle Paul urged the Christians at Corinth to bring “every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).
At times, we allow the darkness of sin seep into our thinking carelessly and recklessly. We let down our guard and hardly notice the sin that infects our minds when we cease allowing the inspired thoughts of God's Word to mould our thinking processes. However, by studying God’s Word and praying (2 Timothy 2:15; Ephesians 6:11-18), we build a firewall (or barricade) for the safeguarding of our minds.