Abraham, the father of the faithful, was born in the year 5000 B.Z. That’s 5000 years before the invention of the Zippo Lighter... 5000 B.Z. ... Before Zippo.
Since they couldn’t “flick their Bic,” Abraham and the rest of the Patriarchs started fires the old-fashioned way: they struck flint rocks together to create a spark, or they rubbed sticks together to create enough friction to ignite dry grass or wood shavings. Apparently, they had a method of maintaining and transporting a fire to alleviate the time-consuming necessity of kindling a new fire. When Abraham and Isaac climbed Mount Moriah, they took fire with them (Genesis 22:7).
Throughout the Biblical record, fire is a significant symbol.
Fire is a symbol of God’s PRESENCE. God appeared to Moses “in a flame of fire within a bush” (Exodus 3:2, CSB). With Egyptian captivity in the rearview mirror, “The Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to lead them on their way during the day and in a pillar of fire to give them light at night, so that they could travel day or night. The pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night never left its place in front of the people” (Exodus 13:21–22, CSB).
Fire is a symbol of God’s POWER. On Mount Carmel, in a life-and-death battle, the pagan god Baal was shown to be impotent. Jehovah was proven to be Omnipotent. Elijah taunted the 450 false prophets, “You call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord. The God who answers with fire, he is God.” We all remember that when Elijah prayed, “the Lord’s fire fell and consumed the burnt offering, the wood, the stones, and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench. When all the people saw it, they fell facedown and said, ‘The Lord, he is God! The Lord, he is God!’ ” (1 Kings 18:24–39, CSB).
Fire is a symbol of God’s GLORY. The book of Exodus concludes with a remarkable picture. “Moses was unable to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud rested on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle” ... “The cloud of the Lord was over the tabernacle by day, and there was a fire inside the cloud by night, visible to the entire house of Israel throughout all the stages of their journey” (Exodus 40:34–38, CSB).
Finally, fire is a symbol of God’s HOLINESS and JUSTICE. Since the decadence and depravity of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah was “extremely serious” (Genesis 18:20, CSB), a Holy and Just God was moved to action. “Out of the sky the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah burning sulfur from the Lord. He demolished these cities, the entire plain, all the inhabitants of the cities, and whatever grew on the ground” (Genesis 19:24–25, CSB).
In this week’s blogs, let’s expand on these truths to see that “the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God” (Deuteronomy 4:24, CSB). Let’s see His glory fill the church and know that the Pillar of Fire still leads us through the wilderness.