I am humbled.
My pastor's wife asked me to share on one of God's attirbutes this Thursday at our women's Bible study at Church. I wrote it all out and thought I might as well post it on my blog.... so here it is, this is exactly what I will say this Thursday, Lord willing. Glory to God!
"Last week Kris taught us of one of God's many amazing attributes: His mercy. Micah 7:18 (KJV)"Who is a God like unto thee that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger forever, because he delighteth in MERCY." God is full of mercy!
Kris asked if I would speak on another attribute of God...Wow! God is so big, how could I possibly try and speak about one of His attritubes?! I am reminded of Job 11:7-9:
"Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty? They are higher than the heavens above- what can you do? They are deeper than the depths below- what can you know? Their measure is longer than the earth and wider than the sea." Also: Psalm 111:2, "The works of the LORD are great, sought out of all them them that have pleasure therein." So, I what else can I do but go on a Treasure Hunt in God’s Word...
Here is one tiny mindboggling glimpse of God He gives us....
[TURN WITH ME TO HEBREWS 12:29]...... "For our God is a consuming fire." IS. God IS A CONSUMING FIRE! My tiny pea-sized brain cannot fathom this verse, but I must believe by faith that He is a Consuming Fire, just as He is full of Mercy. Jesus told His disciples in Mark 11:22 "Have faith in God." So I must not trust myself, only His Word. Deuteronomy 4:24 says this same thing... "For the Lord thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God."
I found the original Hebrew and Greek meanings of the word consuming in The New Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible..... (Show them the book)
In Deuteronomy Consuming means (#398) "to eat (lit. or fig.):- x at all, burn up, consume, devour (-er, up), dine, eat (-er, up), feed (with), food, x freely..." The Greek meaning of the Word Consuming in Hebrews is described as (2654) "to consume utterly". This is a pretty strong meaning. Once again my mind doesn't understand, but I must trust. "Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us." He is a refuge for us just as He is a Consuming Fire.
Think of the fear the Israelites experienced as they witnessed Moses on top of the mountain with God in Exodus 19:18! "And Mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly." And in Exodus 24:17, it says "And the sight of the glory of the LORD was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel." SCARY!! I cannot fathom... but one day we will see.
[LET’S LOOK AT 1 CORINTHIANS 13:12]......."For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known."
Just think, one day we will see God! [LOOK AT REVELATION 1:14]...... It says "his eyes were as a flame of fire;"
Daniel 7:9 and 10a..... "I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him..."
[LOOK AT Psalm 37:20 AND SEE WHO GOD WILL CONSUME]...... "But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the Lord shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away."
Who is the wicked? Psalm 58:3.....”The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.” All of us are wicked.
[TURN TO Zephaniah CHAPTER ONE AND LET’S READ VERSES 2-3]..... ."I will utterly consume all things from off the land, saith the Lord. I will consume man and beast; I will consume the fowls of the heaven, and the fishes of the sea, and the stumblingblocks with the wicked; and I will cut off man from off the land, saith the Lord."
We must fear God! [LOOK AT WHAT THE ANGEL SAID AS WE TURN TO Revelation 14:7]..... “Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters."
Matthew 10:28.... "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." Sweet Sister... don't fear man, fear God! Isaiah 2:22 "Sever yourselves from such a man, whose breath is in his nostrils; for what account is he?" Ecclesiastes 12:13 "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man."
We will not be saved from The Consuming Fire through our own doings! It’s only through His Holy Spirit! [READ WITH ME JEREMIAH 31:33-34]..........”But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity,and I will remember their sin no more.”
Let's do as Isaiah 2:10 says, "Enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty."
Who is The Rock?
In Matthew 21:42-44 Jesus describes Himself as "The Stone which the builders rejected” He goes on to say, "... whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder." I don’t know about you, but I'd rather be broken than be ground to powder!
If we fall on Christ, a fiery trial may be one of the ways, God, The Consuming Fire, “grinds us to powder”, or as Proverbs 25:4 says, takes the dross from the silver. .....”Take away the dross from the silver, and there shall come forth a vessel for the finer.”
Dross is described in the Strong’s as: “refuse”. Refuse is something that is discarded as worthless or useless; rubbish; trash. So why do we hate the trials in our lives? They are hard, lonely and sad, but let’s allow Christ to refine us.
[TURN TO Isaiah 48:10 AND 11].....“Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction. For mine own sake, even for mine own sake, will I do it; for how should my name be polluted? And I will not give my glory unto another.”
1 Peter 4:12-13 "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy."
The Hebrew meaning of the Word fiery, according to The New Strong's is purosis (4451). It comes from the root word puroo (4448). Kinda sounds like our word pure! Purro means "to kindle; to be ignited; glow (lit.); be refined."
1 John 3:3...... "And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure." Don't you want to be more like Christ? Allow Him to refine you in His purifying fire! May we be His "living sacrifice".
Romans 12:1-2....... "I beseech you therefore, brethern, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service."
Remember Elijah's sacrifice in 1 Kings 18:38, "Then the fire of the Lord fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench." I want God to consume me like that, so that even the water of my life is "licked up", and I would be full of His "living water". Remember the story of the woman at the well in John 4:10. I love how Jesus casually tells her that He would have given her living water if she would have asked for it. :)
I also want to be full of His Spirit, like Ephesians 5:18 says, so that I can "BE HOLY; FOR HE IS HOLY." 1 Peter 1:16. We cannot do this ourselves, it is only through the Holy Spirit. "For in him we live, and move, and have our being..." Acts 17:28a.
[LET’S LOOK AT THIS FAMILIAR PASSAGE: 1 Corinthians 3:16]............. "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?"
You may or may not be as familiar with the verse that follows : verse 17.... "If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are."
Once again, a mind- boggling verse, we are God's temple!
Think back to Old Testament passages about what went on in God's temple...offerings and sacrifices! What did God do to the sacrifice?
Leviticus 3:5 "And Aaron's sons shall burn it on the altar upon the burnt sacrifice, which is upon the wood that is on the fire: it is an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the Lord."
I want to be a sweet savour unto the Lord.
[LOOK AT 2 Corinthians 2:15]...... "For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish:"
That’s another mindboggling thought: The world is looking at us during our fiery trial to smell Christ!!!!!
I pray the Holy Spirit would burn in our hearts just like He did His disciples’.
Luke 24:32, "Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?"
I want to remind you where we started....thinking about last week’s study of how merciful God is...
Remember the man who burned physically for Christ? WOW.
Consume us O Lord for the glory of Your name.
“It is of the LORD’S merices that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.” Lamentations 3:22