A WORD STUDY ON “FIRE”
What do you think of when you hear the word “fire”? Do you instantly see a scene of a burning house or hillside where destruction follows? Indeed fire does destroy, but when controlled and used carefully, fire can have positive benefits. Now you might be thinking about controlled fires of old growth forests, in order to protect larger portions of the forest.
Often certain preachers have a practice of threatening people into the Kingdom of Heaven by preaching about Hell, fire and brimstone. This leaves the idea that fire belongs to the Devil. But that’s not the case. A careful study of “fire” leads to a very different conclusion, and perhaps one that will surprise you. Here are the results of my own study on fire: God is the Lord of the Fire!
Here’s what the American Heritage Dictionary has to say about “fire.” 1. Burning fuel or other material. 2. Burning intensity of feeling. 3. Brilliance, as of a cut and polished gemstone. 4. Liveliness of imagination; brilliance. 5. A severe test; a trial or torment. 6. A fever or bodily inflammation. 7. The discharge of firearms or artillery. 8. Intense, repeated attack or criticism.
After looking up the word “fire” in the concordance, I grouped my findings under 7 headings. They led to a beautiful appreciation of the fact that our God is the Lord of the Fire.
1. Fire Purifies
1 Cor. 3:13 The quality of each man’s work will be revealed by fire; work for that which will remain.
Rev. 3:18 God advises us to buy from Him gold that is refined by fire.
2. The Outcome of a Sinful, Rebellious Life is Fire
Job 18:5 The flame of the fire of the wicked gives no light.
Mk. 9:43 Cut off your hand if it causes you to stumble. If you don’t you will end up in the unquenchable fire of Hell.
3. Judgment of God is Executed With Fire Where it Consumes
Matt. 3:10, 12 Every tree that does not bear fruit is burned with unquenchable fire.
Isa. 66:15-16 When God returns to execute judgment, it will be with fire to render His anger with fury.
Rev. 21:8 The abominable, murderers, immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, liars, cowards and unbelievers have a sure destiny to burn in the lake of fire and brimstone.
Ex. 9:24 The plague of hail with flashing fire was very severe and had never been seen in Egypt since it was a nation.
Jude 7 Gross immorality and indulging in strange flesh will bring about punishment of eternal fire.
4. Our God is a Fire – It’s His Symbol of Acknowledging His Presence
Jer. 23:29 God said, “Is not My word like a fire?”
1 Ki. 18:38 Fire fell from Heaven to accept Elijah’s worship offering.
Neh. 9:12 God led His children in the wilderness by a pillar of fire at night.
Ex. 3:2 The angel of the Lord appeared unto Abram in the midst of a blazing fire from the midst of a burning bush.
Deut. 9:3 The Lord is a consuming fire, going before us consuming our enemies.
Matt. 3:11 John baptized with water, the One coming will baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire.
Acts 2:3 Tongues of fire danced on the heads of those filled with the Holy Spirit.
5. Prescribed Fires are Special to God
Num. 3:4-5 The sons of Aaron died when they offered strange fire before the Lord.
Lev. 6:9-13 All the burnt offerings for peace are to be left on the altar until they are completely consumed. It belongs to the Lord completely. The fire on the altar was not to go out so anyone can offer an offering for peace at any time.
6. Fire is a Safe Place if You are with God
Dan. 3:25 Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego walked about freely in the fire because of their faith that would not back down and because of the fourth man in the fire…the Lord.
7. Jesus Welcomed His Baptism of Fire
Lk. 12:49 Jesus said, “I have come to cast fire upon the earth and How I wish it were already kindled. I have a baptism (of fire) to undergo and I’m distress until it is accomplished.”
Indeed our God is the Lord of the Fire. He knows how to control the fire so as to burn away only the impurity and improve the quality of the gold. If you are in His hands, you are in a safe place…even if it’s in the fire. Don’t be afraid of the fire that God prescribes for you. He sees the outcome of it, not just the process of the burning. As for Jesus’ wish for you…He wishes the fire were already kindled. He knew He even had a fire to go through, but He did not avoid it…He was distressed in His soul until it was accomplished. Was it fun? No! Was it comfortable? No! But He understood it was for the common good of all those who were to receive the benefit of His baptism by fire and death. Perhaps we could use His perspective of the fire. After all…He’s the Lord of the Fire!