Genesis 19:24-25 - God's judgement against sin
Interesting the first and last mention of fire in our Bible's is in relation to the judgement of sinners. In Genesis 19 God steps in and judges the sinful people of the plain, and in Revelation 20 and 21, the wicked and unrepentant are cast alive into the lake of fire, described as the 'second death'. I don't want to dwell on this today, only to say that we are reminded again that our God is holy and righteous and must and will judge sin!
But, it reminds us afresh that we live in a day of grace, for God has not intervened in our day as he did with Sodom and Gomorrah! The Bible says that "God is not willing that any should perish" despite the sin on every corner today - such is his long-suffering with man! It also reminds us that our Lord Jesus Christ has died to provide us with a way of salvation, so that believers now fear no condemnation, we have passed from death unto life. Christ bore that fearful judgement for our sin so that we would not have to! There is now no judgement or fire for the believer, praise God!
"Jehovah lifted up his rod; O Christ it fell on thee!Thou wast sore stricken of thy God - There's not one stroke for me"
Not now judgement, but the second fire reference speaks to us of worship and sacrifice as Abraham takes his only son Isaac up Mt Moriah with the fire in his hand, ready to offer him to God. God was testing the depth of his devotion, the question was would he withhold his only son, that which he treasured most? Abraham was willing to offer him, such was his love for his God.
The account points forward to the ultimate sacrifice in the giving of the Lord Jesus Christ, God's only Son on Calvary for us. Interestingly similar words are used: "He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all" - He was not withheld! What love was shown for us there at Calvary.
Bearing in mind our first point about fire - who can tell the fierce temperature of the flame there at Calvary? The magnitude and intensity of that all-consuming fire that was borne by our Saviour there at the hands of a righteous sin-hating God? He was 'made sin for us' and 'offered himself without spot to God'...
Exodus 3:1-4 - His presence and guidance
Here in the third mention in our Bible, the fire reminds me of another aspect of Gods character - his desire to be with us and speak with his people, guiding them daily. Here God appears to Moses and converses with him! Remember also that God led his people by night through the wilderness by a pillar of fire, assuring them of his presence and guidance - He did not leave them alone in the dark hours!
We remind ourselves of this for our mutual encouragement, in fact we often sing "he walks with me and talks with me along life's narrow way". No matter how difficult life gets, or how bleak the outlook may appear, remember that we have the assurance of God's presence with us and his guiding hand always.
Think about the situation in Exodus 3, the situation could hardly have been any bleaker - the people were oppressed, captive and in bondage in a land that was not theirs! All seemed hopeless, but it is at this time that God steps in and assures them of his presence and guidance. He had not left them, he still cared for them and had a purpose and design for his people! We do well to remember this when our spirits fail us, remember Romans 8 -
"Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified... Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?"
We trust these simple thoughts will be of blessing and encouragement to all.
Yours in Christ, Mark