“Fire represents life”, they say in ‘Survivor.’ I am a bit of a Survivor junky. But, in scripture fire is used in a completely different context. It’s not a game; it’s much bigger than that. In the next two posts we will discuss how fire is used in the scriptures. Fire is used many times throughout the Bible to represent different things. It is often used literally as well. Sometimes, God uses fire to represent the opposite of what it represents on ‘reality’ TV. It represents death. Hades. Hell. Sometimes it represents God’s wrath, while other times, God literally showed His wrath with fire. He also used it to show His power and glory. Fire is also used for purification. Sometimes, fire is used to describe God Himself, but He can also be that “still, small voice.”
1 Kings 19:11-12
Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the LORD.” And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.
God can show His presence in mighty ways. But, God is a loving God that meets us on a personal level. He wants a relationship with us.
God has used fire in many ways. He sent fire down from heaven to show His power against the inept false gods in Elijah’s day. He sent fire down on Sodom and Gomorrah to show His wrath and rid the land of evil and wickedness. He used fire to guide and protect the Israelites and revealed Himself to Moses when He called Him to lead His people.
Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. And he led the flock to the back of the desert, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed. Then Moses said, “I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.” So when the LORD saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then He said, “Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.”
And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night. He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day or the pillar of fire by night from before the people.
God is a mighty and powerful God He shows His glory through fire and other natural phenomena of His creation. He shows His glory at a time when we are weak and we need His strength. He uses it to protect His people.
The LORD reigns; Let the earth rejoice; Let the multitude of isles be glad! Clouds and darkness surround Him; Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne. A fire goes before Him, and burns up His enemies round about. His lightnings light the world; The earth sees and trembles. The mountains melt like wax at the presence of the LORD, at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth. The heavens declare His righteousness, and all the peoples see His glory.
Fire can cause fear in people, but it is something that meets many of our needs. It is something we can appreciate and respect. Perhaps the makers of ‘Survivor’ are right. Fire is life. God is the same way. We fear Him, and we love Him. He sustains us and He gives us life. He is our Father.
For you have not come to the mountain that may be touched and that burned with fire, and to blackness and darkness and tempest, and the sound of a trumpet and the voice of words, so that those who heard it begged that the word should not be spoken to them anymore. (For they could not endure what was commanded: “AND IF SO MUCH AS A BEAST TOUCHES THE MOUNTAIN, IT SHALL BE STONED OR SHOT WITH AN ARROW.” And so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I AM EXCEEDINGLY AFRAID AND TREMBLING.”)
But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.
God tells us to not be afraid. He loves us like a child. We who believe are His children and we will inherit eternal life. Jesus paid for our sins, and we are saved by His grace through the faith He has given us. Through His blood, He brings in the new covenant so we have no need to fear.
Stay tuned for the next post on the good and bad of fire in people’s lives and future.