Exodus 3:2-3 – 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.” NKJV
Last Monday, I began blogging on the imagery found in the word of God. This blog, will look at the imagery of fire.
When I was a little girl, we didn’t have central air and heat. Nor do I remember having radiated heat. But I do remember us using heaters in our home to keep warm. It’s amazing the things that stick with us, but this memory was “burned” into my flesh. Literally! One winter evening, while eating a neck bone, I was standing by the heater. I was so involved in my eating that I hadn’t realized that I had moved closer to the heater. The next thing I knew, I was screaming because I had gotten too close to the heater and my skin was burned. What a painful way to learn to respect fire!
I used to wonder as a kid, who invented fire? But as I read the word, I came to know, that God did! As a matter of fact, fire represents the presence of God!
In our key text, Moses is minding his own business of caring for the sheep, when he notices a bush is on fire, and it is not being consumed. When he goes to check it out, God speaks to him from the bush. God used fire to manifest His presence to Moses that day, and did so throughout scripture.
Another place that God manifested His presence in fire is when the children of Israel had stopped at Mt. Sinai.
Now Mount Sinai was completely in smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire. Its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly. Exodus 19:18 -NKJV
My picture for today is of a blazing fire, appearing to be on a mountain. It’s frightening and beautiful all at the same time. Much, as I think, it may have been for the Israelites to witness on the mount.
When we think of the Presence of God, we can’t help but think of His glory! When the Bible speaks of His glory, it is represented by fire!
And you said: ‘Surely the Lord our God has shown us His glory and His greatness, and we have heard His voice from the midst of the fire. We have seen this day that God speaks with man; yet he still lives. Deuteronomy 5:24 – NKJV
In the New Testament, on the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit showed up in tongues of fire!
Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. Acts 2:3-4 – NKJV
This was a direct fulfillment of the words that John the Baptist spoke of, when he referred to the baptism that Jesus would baptize with:
John answered, saying to all, “I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. Luke 3:16 – NKJV
Thus far, we have seen God in the fire, and the Holy Spirit in the fire. Now for Jesus!
Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished; and he rose in haste and spoke, saying to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.” “Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” Daniel 3:24-25 – NKJV
Many teachers of the Bible believe this is a reference to the Son of God, Jesus! I have to admit that I also think this!
His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; Revelation 1:14 -NKJV
John the Apostle, compares the eyes of Jesus to a flame of fire!
Another important imagery I’d like to share is that fire represents the Word of God.
Then I said, “I will not make mention of Him, Nor speak anymore in His name.” But His word was in my heart like a burning fire Shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, And I could not. Jeremiah 20:9 – NKJV
And again, Jeremiah said:
“The prophet who has a dream, let him tell a dream; And he who has My word, let him speak My word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat?” says the Lord. “ Is not My word like a fire?” says the Lord, “And like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces? Jeremiah 23:28-29 – NKJV
Fire can be deadly. In America, we hear of forest fires so much, we give little or no attention to them. At least, some of us! But thousands of acres are destroyed, homes are lost, and even lives. Those who live to tell the story, and their families are grateful for those who fight fire aggressively to stop it’s angry path! But did you know that the Bible speaks of God’s anger in the metaphorical comparison of fire? Of course, you did! When we think of hell, we think of eternal fire! When the disciples didn’t like the way the Samaritans responded to Jesus, they wanted to call fire down from heaven as Elijah had done!
But fire is also good! We use it to cook with. We light our fireplace for warmth and romance. Fire is also used to purify metals like silver and gold. And biblically speaking, fire (or trouble) is used to purify and strengthen the people of God.
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:6-7 -NKJV
I wish I could say more, but this space only allows for so much! So I leave you with these words:
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you. Isaiah 43:2 – NKJV