Derek Smith, Lead Pastor LHBC
Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.
The wildfires currently raging on the West Coast have become an all but inescapable crisis around the country. To date at least 27 people have died in three states, more than five million acres have been charred in Oregon, California and Washington State, and fires and evacuations have now started in Idaho. Milky smoke now clouds the skies as far away as Michigan and haze reaches as far as New York City. In the states where the fires are burning the worst, authorities are trying to adapt to a disaster with no clear end in sight. Firefighters continue trying to contain dozens of fires. In California, the August Complex fire, which has burned more than 750,000 acres northwest of Sacramento, was contained to about 30 percent as of last week, and the Creek Fire northeast of Fresno, which has burned more than 200,000 acres, was contained about 16 percent. Wildfires have become one of the most devastating types of natural disasters in America, resulting in tens of thousands of acres burned annually, millions upon millions of dollars worth of damage, and dozens of lives lost. The old saying, “if you play with fire you’re going to get burned” hits too close to home for some. A fire is nothing to play with, because it can get out of hand quickly.
The writer of Hebrews writes here in chapter 12 about the people of Israel in the Old Testament. He speaks of how they came to the mountain of God and were overcome by fear as they saw the fire and the smoke and heard the audible voice of God speaking to them from the mountain. He reminds them that this was an awe inspiring sight, but it was only a shadow of the true power of God. He exhorts them to consider that now they have been saved and have that very God living inside of them. He says in verses 18-24,
“For you have not come to a mountain that can be touched and to a blazing fire, and to darkness and gloom and whirlwind, and to the blast of a trumpet and the sound of words which sound was such that those who heard begged that no further word be spoken to them…But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church 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, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.”
Child of God, our holy and righteous Lord is not our homeboy or our co-pilot. His daily agenda is not to meet my expectations or protect my sensitivities. He is the holy, righteous, all powerful, transcendent, majestic, and glorious Judge of all creation. He is an all consuming fire that you don’t play with because you might get burned. Yes, He calls us friends, but that’s only after the fiery wrath of God is satisfied through the application of the blood of Christ to the doorposts of our hearts by turning from sin and trusting in Jesus. When He says here that God is a consuming fire he’s not talking about a campfire that is easily contained. He’s talking about a raging wildfire. Make no mistake, when He comes to live in your heart he begins to char the acreage of your sinful flesh and burn away all that doesn’t glorify Him in your life. When the Holy Spirit of God lights the flame of salvation in your heart the wind of God begins to blow and you are soon consumed with Him.
John Wesley once said, “light yourself on fire with passion for God and others will gather just to watch you burn.” Are you on fire with passion for Christ? Today, what unrighteous real estate needs to be burned out of your life and witness? Our God is a consuming fire, and when He takes up residence in your heart the flame will spread. What about you? Are you aflame with love and passion for Jesus?
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Oh Father, You are a consuming fire. Burn away everything in my life that does not glorify You. I don’t want to control what You want to do in my life. I want your Holy Spirit fire to rage in and through me so that others will catch the flame. Thank you Jesus, amen.
MEMORY VERSE OF THE WEEK
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”