Worship in the Fire
Throughout the Bible, fire is used symbolically to represent many things. The following scriptures are examples of how fire is used to represent trials or tests:
Isaiah 48:10-See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.
Zechariah 13:9-This third I will put into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.’”
1 Peter 1:6-8-In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,
Isaiah 43:2-When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.
When tested by fire, trials in life often serve two purposes. First, they refine us. God will often allow them to make us better, stronger, and perfected (mature). Fiery trials also make for a great purification process. When you are experiencing a test, it exposes the core of what you are made of, and who you really are deep within. It is necessary that we are refined and purified so that we are prepared to carry the weight of God’s glory in our lives. It would be unwise on God’s part to pour Himself into a vessel that is unclean, untrusted and untested.
Fire also symbolically represents the presence of God. Here are some passages we find in scripture:
Hebrews 12:28-29-Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.”
Deuteronomy 4:24-For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.
Exodus 19:18-Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the LORD descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, and the whole mountain trembled violently.
Psalm 21:9-When you appear for battle, you will burn them up as in a blazing furnace. The LORD will swallow them up in his wrath, and his fire will consume them.
The presence of God is described as consuming fire. The word consume means to destroy completely. We can envision such powerful imagery of God demonstrated as these scriptures reveal His ultimate might and strength. However, there is another definition of consume that means to engage fully. In this way, one is fully enveloped, immersed. Does the second definition remind you of worship? What would it be like if you were consumed, fully engaged, in the presence of God?
When you understand how to worship in the fire you will not be moved by the tests and trials of life. In fact, you will embrace them as an opportunity to experience God in ways you otherwise could not. Newsflash: Mature saints are frequently tested by fire, so don’t think that it’s something strange or wrong with you, and know that God is not punishing you! The genuineness of your faith must be tested-it comes with the journey. But this scenario really becomes the perfect platform for you to worship. Don’t get upset when God cleanses you in the process. The closer you get to God the more refining and purifying you will experience because in His presence he makes you more and more like Him (pure, holy, set apart). Psalm 24:3-4 says, “Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god.” How can you be a glorious representation of God, that is, be filled with His glory, live in His glory, and carry His glory to others if you are not equipped to handle it?
In the Old Testament, fire was often associate with a place or act of sacrifice. In fact, the priest were required to continuously keep fire burning on the altar (see Leviticus 6:13). Worship involves sacrifice. It is often inconvenient and costly, particularly when you are “going through the fire.” But being with God is worth every sacrifice, every fiery test. Can you worship past you flesh? Can you worship in the fire, even when you don’t feel like it? Are you willing to remain consistent even when things, circumstance, and people around you are not? Find your place of worship and be committed to staying in that place no matter what. Worship in the fire means staying in the presence of God. He is the fire that burns within you so let Him consume you.
“When all the Israelites saw the fire coming down and the glory of the LORD above the temple, they knelt on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave thanks to the LORD, saying, ‘He is good; his love endures forever.’”-2 Chronicles 7:3