The Lord Is An All-Consuming Fire
“Now Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke because the Lord had descended on it in fire. The smoke of it went up like the smoke of a kiln, and the whole mountain trembled greatly. And as the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him in thunder. The Lord came down on Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain. And the Lord called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up.” (Exodus 19: 18-20, English Standard Version)
It might seem like an obvious and easy choice that I’m writing yet another post about the fire of God on a site called “Fire Press.” This title may closely resemble a previous post of mine, but I’m in awe and seem to not run out of things the Lord reveals to me in my personal walk with Him. Sometimes certain catchphrases about God are so overused in modern charismatic-anity, and things are said so often about Him in the Scriptures, it can be very easy to lose sight of just how awesome something about Him really is.
Ponder for a moment that the first time the Lord revealed Himself to Moses was in a burning bush. He could have done His appearing in any form He wanted to, but chose this method–a burning fire. Likewise, the first time the Lord chose to come down and meet the people of Israel for the first time after departing from Egypt, he showed up as thunder, lightning and a thick cloud with a very loud trumpet blast, causing all of the few million men and women who heard it to tremble (see Exodus 19:16-24) The mountain itself did not speak, but the voice in the midst of the fire–God, did.
The God Who Answers By Fire
It is interesting that significant times when God showed Himself to people–Moses in the bush, the people of Israel on Mount Sinai, and the believers in the upper room in Acts 2–He showed up in appearance of fire. No, I don’t think I’m harping on this subject and imagery too much, for our God is a consuming fire! It’s one of His many characteristics. In this instance, the Lord told Moses to have the people clean themselves and abstain from sexual relations for the first two days, and then He’d show up, in fire, on the third day, which would be the occasion Moses received the ten commandments and shared them with the people. Of all the characteristics and symbols that accurately represent the Lord in the Scriptures, if a cleansing was what He was going to do, then He could have shown up as a huge torrent of rain with bars of soap. He showed up in one of the most terrifying and destructive elements of our physical world. Out of all the plagues the Lord brought upon Egypt, culminating in parting the Red Sea that His chosen people might walk through it, He had yet to set a mountain on fire.
Elijah would later stand at Mount Carmel, and in a very similar way, except in the latter instance facing the enemies of God rather than the friends God desired as his treasured possession–the God who is the real god would answer by fire to prove his existence and reputation. While Moses and Elijah both were showing people the same thing, Moses was not bringing Israel into a confrontation like Elijah was with the Baal worshippers.
The author of Hebrews states about this incident after Israel came out of Egypt;
For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them. For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.” Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.” But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven. At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire. (Hebrews 12:18-29, ESV. Emphasis mine.)
Time would fail us to cover every aspect of what this unshakable kingdom looks like, and I’ve covered it in brief in previous studies, which keep in theme with what we’re meditating on today–that this unshakable and imperishable kingdom burns with fire but does not wither away, just like the bush Moses gazed upon. Yahweh wanted to have a people to inhabit, but they wouldn’t have any of it and reacted the wrong way in the trembling presence of the Lord–instead of fearing him, they were afraid of Him. In this new better covenant the writer of Hebrews mentions, that fire the appeared on the mountain top that day has come to live inside our regenerated ‘born again’ spirits.
Ponder that for a moment. God does not dwell in a temple made by hands, nor does He float on a mountaintop the resembles and burns like fire.
You Are The Fire Of The World
You, dear saint, are the carrier of His presence, the fire of the world. His Holy Spirit gives life to mortal bodies and raised Jesus from the dead (Romans 8:11). You are the carrier of the fire that spreads, and the flaming fire of His Spirit melts the chains of bondage the captives are wearing, thus setting them free. It burns the sickness out of peoples’ bodies. Silver or gold, you might have none, but you can give what you do have–the spirit of burning that fries the infirmity out of the lame and weak person’s body. You are an overcomer by the presence of all consuming fire that burns the sin nature out of your old man. You can be holy as He is holy, because He enables you to live holy by His enabling Holy Spirit.
It all kind of makes “greater is He that is within you than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4) not sound so cheesy and cliche when we think of it that way, doesn’t it?