As I read my Bible, I find that there are two types of fire which are mentioned. There is sin’s fire and there is God’s fire. There is a fire that comes from hell, and there is a fire that comes from Heaven. The first fire destroys man’s soul. The second fire refines man’s soul. Now, the fire that comes from sin comes because of a lack of the presence of God. But Heaven’s fire only comes when He is very near – even at the door.
That’s the type of fire that we find in our story from the Tabernacle – the fire of His presence. Moses, Aaron and the congregation had gathered at the door of the Tent of Meeting when suddenly the glory of the LORD appeared and then fire fell, consuming the sacrifice that was placed on the altar. That’s important. They didn’t see the consuming fire because God was distant, but rather because He was present. In fact, He was literally at the very door of the Tabernacle. It was then, and only then, that the glory of the LORD appeared and Heaven’s fire fell.
What an amazing and powerful picture of such an applicable and personal truth. There was no sacrifice or surrender until they had first beheld this beautiful, powerful vision of the glory of the LORD. But with God’s glory also came His fire and His fire consumed the sacrifice that had been placed on the altar. Moses even makes sure to tell us that this fire “came out from before the LORD.”
Don’t skip or run past those words. Think on them. Dwell on them. Mull them over in your mind. There is a deep and meaningful message here for us to discover. How many times have you been made to pass through the fire? Was it an easy thing? A pleasant thing? No. It wasn’t easy and it definitely wasn’t pleasant. In fact, you probably thought as you felt the flames that God must have been a million miles away. He’d surely abandoned you. You may have thought that you were going through those flames because He didn’t care for you.
Has that ever crossed your mind? If so, remember that there is a heavenly fire that burns away the dross – the superficial and selfish things of our lives, and leaves only the gold. There is a suffering that comes not because of God’s wrath, but because of His love. Don’t ever forget, the one who follows the closest after Christ is also the one who is always nearer to the cross.
To be sure, some suffering comes into our life because sin is present. But there are some sacrifices that only come into our life when Christ is very near. There are offerings that can be made only in His glorious presence. Heaven’s fire is a gift. In fact, it is the first gift. It consumes the dross in your life. So, when you find yourself in the fire again, remember with joy that first fire and don’t forget that walking in the very midst of that fiery furnace is One whose form is like the Son of God.