Advent Flow #3 - NAME OF GOD: Consuming Fire
“For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.”
– Deuteronomy 4:24
“…for our God is a consuming fire”
– Hebrews 12:29
NAME OF GOD: Consuming Fire
by Brett Bodine
This past year we have witnessed the powerful nature of fire on the west coast, especially here in the Pacific Northwest. The Columbia River Gorge fire was perhaps the most impactful to us here in the Portland area as we watched “Oregon’s crown jewel” consumed by an enormous wildfire. People were affected both emotionally and physically as we pondered the lasting impact this fire would have on the environment and canceled outdoor events due to the unhealthy levels of smoke in the air.
While these wildfires rip through forests consuming everything in their path, they do serve a greater, long term purpose to the forest. Forests can become overgrown and stripped of nutrients in the soil that stifle their ability to grow and sustain life. We as believers can become like an overgrown forest.
In context of Deuteronomy 4:24, Moses is speaking to the Israelites reminding them about what they had seen the Lord their God do for them after leaving Egypt and to teach their children about those things lest they forget. Moses then warns them about creating an image for God and worshiping idols. He tells them here that the Lord their God is a consuming fire, a jealous God who knew that they would turn from Him to worship other gods. Out of His great love for them He would burn everything that pulled them away from Him so that He could keep His promise to never forsake nor destroy them.
As New Testament believers and adopted sons and daughters of God who have been grafted into the vine, the Lord is jealous for us as well and promises to “..never leave us nor forsake us.” Hebrews 13:5.
Malachi 3:3 says the Lord “is like the refiner’s fire.” He will continually refine us, burning away all the impurities of our lives because He loves us and wants us to live abundant lives filled with spiritual growth.
As the wildfires burn away all the undergrowth and replenish the soil with nutrients, so too does God’s fire burn away the things in our lives that choke out our ability to grow in our walk with Christ. Oftentimes, as with the Gorge fire, it can look terrible and be painful for the believer in the midst of God’s refining fire. After those things are consumed, our walk with the Lord can start fresh and grow even stronger than before.
1 Corinthians 3:12-15 tells us that “If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.”
For the enemies of God, His consuming fire is destructive and a source of judgement. For us as believers and children of God, His fire is a source of protection, life and comfort. We can have great peace knowing that God will never leave us nor forsake us, He will protect us and will work in our lives to refine us in order for us to thrive and live an abundant life full of joy.
Are we afraid of God’s consuming fire or are we comforted by it?
What are some things, idols, in our lives that are choking out our ability to grow and thrive?
Have you experienced God’s consuming fire in your walk with Him? Was it painful? Did you see growth and healing on the other side?
Do you remember the amazing things that God has done in your life and tell others about them?
Father, search our hearts and examine our lives for anything that keeps us from growing in our walk with you. Burn away everything that is not of you and restore us. Give us peace knowing that you fight for us and protect us from our enemies. May we always remember the great things you’ve done in our lives and share them with those around us that your Name may be glorified and praised above all names. Amen!