March 28 - God as a Consuming Fire

Israel was about to cross the Jordan and dispossess the nations greater and mightier than themselves. The cities there were great and fortified and the people were big and tall, the sons of the Anakim. They really needed help to accomplish the task. God assured them that He would go before them as a consuming fire. He would destroy them and make them perish quickly. God’s presence as fire was a sign of His judgment, removing all darkness and sinfulness.

The Israelites were not to be proud because of the eradication of their enemies. The Lord did that not because they were righteous but because of the sinful condition of their enemies. No one could take the Lord for granted, we need to be careful of our own walk with the Lord instead of rejoicing over the plight of our enemies. After delivering God’s promise to defeat their enemies, Moses then warned his people. They were a stubborn people, provoking the wrath of the Lord in the wilderness repeatedly. Had not for the grace of God, they would have perished long ago.

Moses remembered the time when he had to plead for the people and Aaron so that the Lord would not destroy them in His wrath. Even when he went down the mountain after receiving the two stone tablets, the mountain was burning with fire. God’s presence was there as a sign for His holiness and His hatred of sin. With the fire burning, Moses went down and dealt with the sin of the people in worshipping the golden calf. God’s fire was burning against His people.

If God were a consuming fire, how can we approach Him without getting burned? How do we get along with such a holy God? For that God has made a provision for us, as He told the Israelites of His requirements as they came before Him. What He requires of His people is for them to fear Him, to walk in all His ways, to love Him, to serve Him with all their heart and with all their soul, to keep the commandments and statutes of the Lord. As a token of their covenant, an agreement that the people will take the Lord as their God and walk in His ways, the rite of circumcision was given. However, the physical act was not enough. They needed the circumcision of the heart and stopped being stubborn.

The Lord is a God of love, but He is also a God of righteousness. It is easy for us to approach Him through love but when we get close to Him, we can sense His holiness. He will not tolerate sin in our lives. To come close to God and enjoy His love, we must circumcise our heart and walk with Him by true obedience. Are you feeling the consuming fire? Or are you experiencing the fire of His love and presence? The difference is in you, confess your sins and get close to Him now.

As Moses had said, “Hold fast to Him!”

Ps 44:17-26 Deut 9:1-10:22 Luke 8:4-21 Prov 12:2-3


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