For the Lord thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.
Deuteronomy 4:24 (KJV)
Consuming fire – My family and I have been camping a lot this year. During that time I’ve made plenty of camp fires and enjoyed the warmth, the light, and the skill of actually creating a fire from simple materials. But mostly I’ve noticed that my children are completely entranced by the flickering of the flames and the danger involved with such a primitive thing. They asked daily for me to create a fire so they could poke at it with sticks, dump pinecones into it, or roast marshmallows over it. And so we’d have a fire going in the morning when I awoke, and another before we went to bed. It was a highlight of our camping adventures.
As I watched my children play, poke, and stare into the fire, I noticed that it had consumed their attention entirely. My mind shot to this description of God, and how He is a consuming fire. Many times I’ve read this verse, or the other two in the Bible (Deut. 9:3, Heb. 12:29) and recalled how terrifying God can be. I would think of how serious and dreadful He is. But as my children observed the fire, I thought of something else. Like the fire, God commands our attention, and our interest. If only we gave God our full attention like children to a fire, some wonderful things might be learned.
My children are young, so I taught them to revere and even to fear the fire. I taught them how it provides light in the darkness, how it gives warmth and comfort. I realized these teachings were exactly how I’ve presented God to them in times before. God is a consuming fire, and the danger, the enchantment, and the reality of His works demand our complete attention. Our children, more than myself, understand this very well. They see the fire and recognize the relationship to God. He is ‘akal esh, a consuming fire.
The Hebrew word ‘akal means to consume. Isn’t it interesting that God should consume our attention, He should consume our time, and our very lives. The warning in Deut. 4 is for us not to forget His covenant because He is ‘akal esh. In Deut. 9, God goes before us to consume our enemies before our face. He is doing miracles right in front of us, how can we not give him our attention? And finally in Heb. 12, we are instructed to revere and fear the Lord and to serve him acceptably with the note that He is, again, a consuming fire.
Remember, He is a jealous God. Have we committed ourselves fully to Him? Do we desire to have Him manifested in our lives? Do we watch Him and poke around in Him, and at times just stare at His beauty? Are we the innocent children that Yeshua called to himself, and is He the fire in our lives?