A Consuming Fire

“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.””

                                                                                                                                                                Hebrews 12:28-29

                At the end of the chapter twelve of the book of Hebrews the author concludes the main body of his exhortation to remain faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ with a very striking thought.  He focuses our attention upon the Kingdom of Heaven which all true believers are seeking.  Hebrews tells us that God has been speaking into our lives His Word through prophets and no in His Son who is very God incarnate.  The Words of the Son of God have been recorded for us in the New Testament and are in reality God breathed Scripture given to us by the Spirit of God.  What a wonderful privilege to be able to read and reflect upon the Word of God.  This Word, perhaps most clearly focused in the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is, Hebrews tells us, shaking every part of creation so that all that will eventually be left will be the Kingdom that we seek.  The consequence is that we respond to God in the only way that is appropriate for those who have truly understood this Word of God, the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.  This is with reverent and awe filled thankfulness and Worship.

There is a reason for this response.  It is found in the nature of the God we Worship.  Hebrews tells us that “He is a consuming fire.”   This thought calls us to do some Bible Study in order to understand what we are being called to as believers.  The quote in Hebrews comes from Deuteronomy 4:24 which taken in context tells us,

“You saw no form of any kind on the day the Lord spoke to you at Horeb out of the fire.  Therefore watch yourselves very carefully, so that you do not become corrupt and make yourselves an idol, an image of any shape, whether formed like a man or a woman, or like any animal on earth or any bird that flies in the air, or like any creature that moves along the ground or any fish in the waters below.  And when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars – all the heavenly array – do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshipping things the Lord your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven.  But as for you, the Lord took you and brought you out of the iron smelting furnace, out of Egypt, to be a people of His inheritance, as you now are.  The Lord was angry with me because of you, and He solemnly swore that I would not cross the Jordan and enter the good land the Lord your God is giving you as your inheritance.  I will die in this land; I will not cross the Jordan; but you are about to cross over and take possession of that good land.  Be careful not to forget the covenant of the Lord your God that He made with you; do not make for yourselves an idol in the form of anything the Lord your God has forbidden.  For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous fire.” (Deuteronomy 4:15-24)

                What impresses itself upon me in reading this passage, as well as the one from Hebrews twelve, is that God has led His people through a set of circumstances which are designed to refine them so that they will become a people who belong to Him alone, and who exhibit that reality in the lives they lead.  The fact that God is a consuming fire, and that He put His people into the iron refining furnace when they lived in Egypt tells us that the spirit of God uses our circumstances to bring us into a confrontation with the truth about ourselves as well as His awesome holiness.  Once we have encountered Him we will truly never be the same again.  Daily the Lord is doing this in our lives so that we will come to the Lord Jesus Christ, believing the Gospel of His cross.