Is fire good? It’s good under my cooking pot (I like a gas, rather than electric, stove) but not inside a pan of grease. It’s great to have as a campfire, but not loose in the forest. Fire is awesome, powerful, purifying, destructive, fearful, enlightening….
In Exodus, God appeared as fire several times. First to Moses in a burning bush (Exodus 3), commanding his attention and obedience as He commissioned him to go to Egypt to rescue his people. Imagine listening to a fire and even arguing with it, as Moses did!
The next time Moses encountered God as fire was when the Israelites left Egypt (13:21-22). God led them in the form of a pillar of cloud by day which turned into a pillar of fire at night. This fire guided them and gave them light, comfort and protection. God’s presence was actually visible to them.
Thirdly, God appeared as a fearsome, blazing fire that came down onto Mount Sinai (19:16-18) producing thick, black smoke and causing the whole mountain to quake. The terrified people were forbidden to come near, nor did they want to.
Is God a tame God whom we can control like a campfire or a flame under our cooking pans? As the writer of Hebrews says, “Our God is a consuming fire.” No, I can’t control God, nor would I want to. My prayer is that He will control me!
Here’s an article that has more on this topic: http://www.gotquestions.org/consuming-fire.html
Stay tuned for another post on the other side of God’s character which was revealed on top of that fiery mountain.