‘When Solomon finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple.’ (v1) 2 Chronicles 7:1–6
On Pentecost Sunday, we noted how the disciples, gathered in the Upper Room, ‘saw what seemed to be tongues of fire’ come and rest on each of them. This after nine days of prayer, from Christ’s Ascension until Pentecost. God answered their prayer with His presence.
It is indeed the presence of God that we seek through prayer; God present with us and God’s presence in response to the subject of our prayers.
There is a danger that we can, perhaps unintentionally, domesticate God. Out of commitment and love, we only invite God to operate within the boundaries which we feel comfortable.
Yet, fire can spread very quickly and is not something that naturally submits to human rules. We’ve seen the immense bushfires across Australia that, in an instant, consume peoples’ homes and livelihoods. They move unpredictably and resist attempts to dowse them.
Fire has also proved essential in human development. Today it keeps us warm and has the capacity to change the composition of those things it touches, for both positive and negative outcomes. It is not an element we are to treat lightly, for its power can prove irresistible.
That’s why it’s a metaphor for God – a consuming fire (Heb. 12:29). It is clear that to take God seriously quite literally means to work with fire, yet this is the reality of God’s presence; He’s not someone to be taken lightly.
Related Scripture to Consider: Exod. 13:17–22; Deut. 4:15–31; Rom. 12:1–3; Heb. 10:19–36.
An Action to Take: Consider if there are limits beyond which you would find it uncomfortable trusting in God.
A Prayer to Make: ‘Lord, let me remain upon Your altar as a living sacrifice, and may my life always be acceptable in Your sight. Amen.’
Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.
LUMO Images contributed by Freebibleimages.org