and divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. [acts 2:3]
all consuming fire.
on wednesday, we heard from john (the pastor, not the disciple) that the verbage for this fire resting on the heads of the disciples actually means to be submerged fully. that they were engulfed in it, taken over by the power of the Holy Spirit newly indwelling them. what a sobering yet comforting thought that our God is an all consuming fire, and that he lives in us. [hebrews 12:29]
we remember that God created fire to reveal his nature to us. so in scripture, what can we see of the nature of God through fire?
fire often indicates God’s overwhelming presence, tremendously powerful, ferociously awe-inspiring.
now mount sinai was wrapped in smoke because the lord had descended on it in fire. the smoke of it went up like the smoke of a kiln, and the whole mountain trembled greatly. [exodus 19:18]
because the Holy Spirit lives in us, we are consumed in God’s ominous presence.
fire also reveals and tests quality of work, as the Spirit reveals and tests our fruit and our faith.
each one’s work will become manifest, for the day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. [1 corinthians 3:13]
because the Holy Spirit lives in us, we are shown the way of the Lord. we are shown his glory. the Spirit teaches us his way, and does not give us over to our sin. he convicts us, in his mercy, that we might repent and return to his joy.
fire indicates God’s glory, devouring the place where it rests.
now the appearance of the glory of the Lord was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of israel. [exodus 24:17]
because the Holy Spirit lives in us, the very glory of God dwells in us! we cannot even begin to comprehend this amazing truth. God’s consuming glory has devoured the old man in us, making us new, giving us life. be sobered. what tremendous grace.
fire spreads quickly.
and the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. the tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. [james 3:6]
because the Holy Spirit lives in us, just like the evil fire of the human tongue, God’s glorious fire will spread to every facet of our lives, causing submission to his will and obedience to his word, and will spread to every relationship we hold. we are a great avenue of God’s glory to the world.
fire consumes that which is flammable.
and the people complained in the hearing of the lord about their misfortunes, and when the lord heard it, his anger was kindled, and the fire of the lord burned among them and consumed some outlying parts of the camp. [numbers 11:1]
because the Holy Spirit lives in us, we are promised sanctification. he promises to burn away the dross, refining us, and making us pure as he purges the evil from our hearts.
fire indicates holiness.
and the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. he looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed. and moses said, “i will turn aside to see this great sight, why the bush is not burned.” when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “moses, moses!” and he said, “here i am.” then he said, “do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” and he said, “i am the God of your Father, the God of abraham, the God of isaac, and the God of jacob.” and moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God. [exodus 3:2-6]
because the Holy Spirit lives in us, we see the holiness of God. we are driven to worship, sometimes driven to our knees, humbling ourselves in his presence. but because the Holy Spirit lives is us, we are also made holy. set apart for his glory. welcome in his holy presence, and invited to commune with him in the burning light of his glory.
Father, we are overwhelmed by the gift of your Spirit. fill us today with the consuming fire of your presence. test us, convict us, call us into your joy. drive us to worship in all submission and joyful obedience. thank you Father!
~ arwen eastman