A Fiery God
How do we most often see God portrayed in the Bible? How does He appear to His people? Other than through His Son in the form of the man Jesus, God most often appears as fire. If I think about fire in a spiritual context, I think of hell first. Revelation speaks of a lake of fire.
“Then death and the grave were thrown into the lake of fire. This lake of fire is the second death. And anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:14-15)
Jesus spoke of an eternal fire in Matthew 13:42, 18:8, 25:46, and Mark 9:47-48. But when God appears to His people it is so often in the form of fire. When God spoke to Moses in the wilderness, it was as a burning bush. When God led the Israelites through the desert at night, it was as a pillar of fire. When he descended onto Mt. Sinai to speak with Moses, it was as fire.
"All of Mount Sinai was covered with smoke because the LORD had descended on it in the form of fire. The smoke billowed into the sky like smoke from a brick kiln, and the whole mountain shook violently." (Exodus 19:18)
And even when the Holy Spirit comes, He comes as fire (Acts 2:3). So how is our God like fire? Well, fire is a light in the darkness, and John describes the very essence of God in the same way.
“The Word gave life to everything that was created,
and his life brought light to everyone.
The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness can never extinguish it.” (John 1:4-5)
And Jesus called Himself the light of the world.
“Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, ‘I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.’” (John 8:12)
There are over 20 Bible verses that speak of God as light.
Fire also protects from predators. There are over 30 verses in the Bible that specifically talk about God as protector.
“But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.” (2 Thessalonians 3:3)
“‘Because the poor are plundered and the needy groan, I will now arise,’ says the Lord. ‘I will protect them from those who malign them.’” (Psalm 12:5)
Fire can also burn us if we are not careful, if we do not respect it.
"The sinners in Jerusalem shake with fear.
Terror seizes the godless.
'Who can live with this devouring fire?' they cry.
'Who can survive this all-consuming fire?'
Those who are honest and fair,
who refuse to profit by fraud,
who stay far away from bribes,
who refuse to listen to those who plot murder,
who shut their eyes to all enticement to do wrong—
these are the ones who will dwell on high." (Isaiah 33:14-16a)
"For our God is a devouring fire." (Hebrews 12:29)
Fire can also destroy and melt away imperfections, making even the toughest materials soft enough to reform into something new, and God’s fire can melt even the hardest of hearts.
“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
In 1 Corinthians, Paul talks about God's fire testing our foundation.
"For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have—Jesus Christ. Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials—gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value. If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward. But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builder will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames." (1 Corinthians 3:11-15)
So let us draw to His light for comfort and protection and let us never forget His power.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.