Have you sat in front of a fire recently and watched the wood burn in it? It is a wonderful thing to watch if it is in a fireplace or a wood stove. It is often relaxing and makes a person feel cozy. However, to see a fire on TV or in the news, it is sad and frightening, especially when the fire is burning down a house and there are people inside. When firefighters finally get the fire out, there is nothing left but ashes.
God uses fire in two ways throughout the Old and New Testaments. One is pleasant and the other unpleasant. The pleasant way God uses fire is to show His divine power and will. It also makes others aware of His existence. The unpleasant way God uses fire is to punish those who do not do His will.
Nadab and Abihu offered a strange fire before the Lord. They lit the censor with it. God then sent a fire out from Heaven and it consumed Nadab and Abihu (Leviticus 10:1-2) It was their punishment for not following God’s commandments. At the end of the world, the Son of Man will send forth His angels and they shall gather out of His kingdom all the things that offend and them which do iniquity. And shall cast them into a furnace of fire; there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 13:41-42). God will put everyone who doesn’t obey His will into a place (in a furnace) of fire (Revelations 20:14-15; Matthew 25:46), even those who claim to be doing miracles in Christ’s name (Matthew 7:21). God will even punish the devil as well as those he deceived (Revelation 20:10; Matthew 25:41).
God also used fire to show His divine power. In Exodus 3:2-22. God talked to Moses out of the burning bush. The bush was not consumed, yet it was on fire.
In First Kings 18, God showed the people His power and existence by consuming the sacrifice and altar soaked in water. Elijah and set up this altar as part of a challenge to the prophets of Baal. The people turned back to God when they realized His awesome power.
In Daniel 3 Nebuchadnezzar had created a golden image for the people to bow down and worship. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego would not worship the image. So according to Nebuchadnezzar’s decree, he had them thrown into a fiery furnace. The furnace was heated to so, it killed the most mighty soldiers putting Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the furnace. However, since they obeyed God and did His commandments, God protected them. They walked around in the furnace unharmed and did not even smell like they were anywhere near a fire (Daniel 3:24-26).
God is here for us and will keep us from the fiery hell if we are faithful to Him (Isaiah 43:2, Revelation 2:10, Matthew 10:22). Jesus will confess us before His Father and we shall have a home with Him (Matthew 10:32). The power of God is a mighty thing. Let us always do His will so He will keep us from the fire and not throw us into it to be consumed.
— June 1996
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