Fire fascinated my dad. When we were little girls, our family would drop everything and jump in the car almost every time we heard the fire trucks’ sirens. We’d search the sky for smoke and rush to the scene to watch the brave firemen battle the dangerous blazes.
Fire takes on a life of its own as it devours its prey. I remember watching a garage burn a block away from our home. A big department store and a lumber company both burned while we watched from safe distances. I can almost hear the snap crackle of the burning wood, smell the acrid odor of smoking embers, feel the heat from dancing flames.
Hebrews 11 lists men and women of faith, people who believed God, and looked to him in spite of circumstances. Then Hebrews 12 begins with the word, “Therefore” and challenges us to have the same kind of faith as those listed in chapter 11, because God has proven himself to be faithful. The writer points us to God’s spiritual kingdom, as sure and real as the physical city of Jerusalem. But now God promises that one day, we who know him will live with him, while the rest of creation will be removed.
Hebrews 12:28 says, “Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe.” It’s followed by verse 29, a verse that jumped out at me as I read this morning: “For our God is a devouring fire.” (NLT)
Fire is welcome at a campsite, melting marshmallows for s’mores, heating hotdogs, warming fingers and toes. But campers know to enjoy the fire with fear and awe, knowing fire can also unleash its destructive power.
Those of us who know Jesus as our Savior can enjoy God like a camper by a fire pit. We benefit from God’s very being, we enjoy his fellowship, we are safe in his presence. But we must not take his power too lightly, or misuse his blessings. We must not forget that he is that devouring fire. That’s where worshiping him with holy fear and awe comes into play.
My prayer is that all who read this blog will know the warmth, the peace, the safety God provides to those who call on the name of Jesus. The alternative is frightening. Those who reject the Savior will only know the devouring fire of his wrath, his anger and punishment, and be separated from him forever.
May we worship God with holy fear and awe. For our God is a devouring fire.