Put me like a seal over your heart,
Like a seal on your arm.
For love is as strong as death,
Jealousy is as severe as Sheol;
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
The very flame of the LORD.
Song of Songs 8:6 NASB
How often, when we think of flames and the Lord God in the same passage are we pondering His judgment?
If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life crippled, than, having your two hands, to go into hell, into the unquenchable fire, - Mark 9:43
But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. - Revelation 21:8
But what if the consuming fire of God is not His judgement, but His very nature. What if—well—“our God is a consuming fire.” - Hebrews 12:29
That exact phrase “consuming fire” shows up eight times in the NASB. Moses uses it three times, Isaiah four times and it shows up there in Hebrews 12, again quoting Moses in Deuteronomy.
When Moses first met the Lord, He manifested Himself as a non-consuming fire—in the bush that burned but was not consumed.
Though this nature of fire possessed by the Lord demands a posture of awe, it’s not about fear of judgment for His children. It’s not that the Lord is saying behave or I’ll burn you.
Not at all—in fact—though our worship set may call Him the “all consuming fire” the fact is He consumes the dross and refines the gold and silver and precious things we are made of.
If we are His, His fire is not to be feared, but embraced as that which is the best for us.
Those who are in rebellion, who have not surrendered their lives to King Jesus have much to fear.
I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that have no more that they can do. "But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him! - Luke 12:4-5 NASB
But to those of us, His children, His lovers, on whom His mercy rests, His fire is only good.
Remember the words of John the Baptist. His baptism was one of repentance, but there was one—Jesus—coming after him who would baptize us in the Holy Spirit and fire. He was not warning us away, but sending us toward this greater baptism, the fuller relationship, this wonderful, glorious FIRE.
This fire is an expression of His character—His love. Love expresses itself in doing the best it can for it’s object. So it is that the Father’s love for us purges us, cleans us, frees us from the filth and death of our old nature and prepares us for His glorious presence.
Perhaps this fire is the wedding garment of the His glorious bride.
I really love this idea!
Hey - my friend Steve Bremner recently aired a podcast about the God who answers by fire - check it out here..
See you soon