3 One day Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro,[a] the priest of Midian. He led the flock far into the wilderness and came to Sinai, [b] the mountain of God. 2 There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the middle of a bush. Moses stared in amazement. Though the bush was engulfed in flames, it didn’t burn up. 3 “This is amazing,” Moses said to himself. “Why isn’t that bush burning up? I must go see it.” 4 When the Lord saw Moses coming to take a closer look, God called to him from the middle of the bush, “Moses! Moses!” “Here I am!” Moses replied. 5 “Do not come any closer,” the Lord warned. “Take off your sandals, for you are standing on holy ground.”
Fire is an aspect of God’s presence in His appearing to his people. It was a sign that he lived and dwelt with those He called his own. Throughout the bible you’ll find traces of the fire of God burning brightly, not a flicker but a flame, touching and transforming the lives of ordinary people.
- To the children of Israel, God was with then as a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. Exodus 13:21–22
- In the tabernacle, the fire of God came and consumed the people’s offerings showing God’s favor. Leviticus > 9:23–24.
- With Elijah, the fire of God came down on the mountain top as a remind to the people of Israel to worship the God who answers by fire and let Him be their God. 1 Kings 18
- On the day of Pentecost, when the Spirit came it was described as tongues of fire that rested on each of them. Acts 2:3
There are several aspects to how this fire touches and transforms lives
I. Fire Consumes
He doesn’t destroy, he consumes, that is why when Moses looked at the bush it was consumed by fire but was not destroyed. That’s what God wants to do with our lives. He doesn’t want to destroy you, he wants to consume you. Are you burning brightly for Christ Jesus today? Has he got first place and first call upon your life? Are you consumed with the zeal of the Lord today? What is consuming you? Is it God?
II. Fire refines
In Malachi 3:1–2, Malachi sees the Lord and he says the Lord you are seeking will suddenly come to his temple v. 1 and in v. 2 he describes what He’ll be like in his coming for he says, “He will come like a refiner’s fire.”
A refiner in biblical times was a person who took metal that was formless and impure and put it in a furnace to be heated up to an intense heat. This would bring all the impurities to the surface so he could wipe them off. This process would be repeated again and again until he knew the metal was clean and pure. The way he would know that the metal was pure was once he looked at it he’d see the reflection of his face in the metal.
This is the picture of the refining that God wants to do in our lives. He wants our attitudes and our weaknesses, any hidden sins, any disillusionment’s that hold us back, any fear, He wants it all to go through the furnace of His presence so all the impurities that are in our hearts may come to the surface. This is for one reason and one reason alone and that’s so the reflection of Christ may be seen in everything we are and everything we do. Not the reflection of this world, not the reflection of self, but the reflection of Christ’s face. Whose “face” is your life reflecting?
III. Fire brings light
Exodus 13:21 The Lord went ahead of them. He guided them during the day with a pillar of cloud, and he provided light at night with a pillar of fire. This allowed them to travel by day or by night. Everything outside the camp was covered in darkness but when others looked at where the children of Israel were they saw fire which reflected light. God wants this church to be a church on fire so that we can be the light that shines into the dark areas of our community. Is your time alone with God in private reflecting His light in public? Is God’s fire in your life drawing others to God’s light?
IV Fire brings protection
Exodus 14:19 Then the angel of God, who had been leading the people of Israel, moved to the rear of the camp. The pillar of cloud also moved from the front and stood behind them. 20 The cloud settled between the Egyptian and Israelite camps. As darkness fell, the cloud turned to fire, lighting up the night. But the Egyptians and Israelites did not approach each other all night.
God wants to protect us and we need His protection. Just as the Egyptians chased after the Israelites with the intent to take them captive and bring them back under the yoke of slavery, so we have enemies that desire to enslave us. Like the Israelites, our enemies often attack from behind and it is God that has our back. Is it time to get Alone with God? It is our time alone with Him that keeps us from running out from under Gods protection? Who has your back?