For those who think God is not on His throne and still at work. This is a Powerful message on the book of Obadiah. Obadiah: God’s Justice
The Holy Fire Of The Altar.
“For our God is consuming fire.”- Heb_12:29.
Is it not written, ‘God is love?’ Is it not also written, ‘God is light?’ Yet here we read, God, nay, ‘our God is a consuming fire.’ We have like words, once and again, in the Old Testament. ‘The Lord thy God is a consuming fire’ (Deu_4:24). ‘The sight of the glory of the Lord was like devouring fire on the top of the mount’ (Exo_24:17). ‘A fire goeth before Him, and burneth up His enemies round about’ (Psa_97:3).
There seems in our text special reference to the fire of the altar, which consumed the sacrifice without consuming the worshipper. ‘There came a fire out from before the Lord, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat’ (Lev_9:24). ‘When Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices;…and when all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshipped, and praised the Lord’ (2Ch_7:1; 2Ch_7:3).
It does seem strange to read, ‘Our God is a consuming fire.’ How is this? Where is the grace here? Where is the gospel, and the pardon, and the childlike confidence? Let us see. The expression is sacrificial and as such let us consider it. It is either the fire coming down from heaven upon the altar, or it is the fire upon the altar fed continually by the wood laid thereon. It is probably both of these; for these are properly one fire, its use being to consume the sacrifice.
I. The fire itself.-It is the symbol of divine anger against evil,- holy, righteous anger,-not the symbol merely of holiness or righteousness (the symbol of these is light), but of holiness and righteousness in their estimate of sin, and in their dealings with sin and the sinner. From Genesis down to Revelation fire is referred to, and always in connection with divine displeasure against the workers of iniquity. We have the flaming sword of Paradise, Sodom and Gomorrha, the doom of Korah, the destruction of the three fifties at the command of Elijah, and the lake of fire. Holy anger against sin,-holy anger consuming the object of its displeasure. It is this that is to blaze forth so terribly against the rejecters of the Son of God when He comes in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God.
II. The place of this fire.-The altar of burnt offering. God has set a place where this fire shall display itself perpetually, burning day and night. It touches nothing but what is on the altar. However many may be standing round, the fire touches them not. It exhausts itself on the sacrifice. The altar receives it, and the victim absorbs it. All else is safe. It is concentrated on this one spot, and pours itself out on the one object, like lightning attracted by a slender conducting-rod, and turning aside to nothing else, but expending itself there. Earth,-the whole earth,-is the guilty region, on which the fire should be poured. But God in His grace withdraws it from this wide sweep, and concentrates it on the one single point, the brazen altar. Nowhere else is it permitted to burn. Earth is safe. The wrath is gathered together and poured down on one spot and one victim. Here is substitution. Here is grace. Here is the withdrawal of the anger from its deserved objects. Here is the assurance that God has no pleasure in the death of the sinner.
III. The power of this fire.-It is the fire of God. It is consuming fire, irresistible fire. It has showed itself in former ages; it is yet to show itself more terribly in the great day. Who can stand before it? Who knoweth the power of Thy wrath? When it waxes hot, it devours all before it. O fire of God, how irresistible art thou! O wrath of God, how terrible art thou! Who can dwell with the devouring fire? who can dwell with the everlasting burnings? Shall not the sinner tremble before it? Shall not the saints of God stand in awe, and rejoice with trembling? An angry God is fearful. Let the sinner turn. A God whose anger is turned away is still to be reverenced and feared by His own.
IV. The effects of this fire.-It may be truly said to have all the properties of earthly fire: (1) it destroys; (2) it purifies; (3) it burns up wood, and hay, and stubble; (4) it separates the dross from the gold; (5) it draws out odor from what is odorous; (6) it makes the bright shine brighter.
But it is of the effects of the fire in connection with the altar that we speak. It quenches itself in the blood of the burnt-offering, and so completes the sacrifice. After this, the sinner who accepts this altar as his place of worship and of approach to God has nothing to fear. The fire is exhausted in so far as the sinner is concerned. The blood waited for the fire, and the fire for the blood. They came at last together, and all was done. ‘It is finished.’ The cry of the victim, ‘Why hast Thou forsaken me?’ showed the completion of the propitiation, and the exhaustion of the holy wrath. The fire is now satisfied. It needs no more. The sin which drew it down (transferred from the sinner to his offering) has been condemned and punished. The offerer is free. There is no condemnation for him. His guilt has been expiated. The fire has consumed the victim, and atonement has been fully made.
Stand by this altar, O man, and this ‘no condemnation’ becomes thine. Meet God here, where the fire and the blood have met, and thou hast nothing to fear. Righteousness propitiated and magnified bids thee come in peace, and go in peace, with ‘Who is he that condemneth?’ upon thy grateful lips, as thy song of praise.
Our Father in Heaven
I come to You, Father, Knowing who You are.
You are the Eternal God
Who reigns Supreme over Heaven;
Over all the earth and it’s people.
You are the Everlasting God
Who has always been
And will always be.
You are the One and True God.
The God of Israel.
Blessed be Your name, O God.
May praise and worship be Yours,
And Yours alone, for only
You are worthy to receive
Worship, honor, and praise.
You are the God of Perfection,
Of justice and holiness.
You are the God of Love;
And there is none other.
Father, I ask that Your Kingdom come.
I know that it has come already
In the hearts and minds of Your children,
And yet it won’t be fully revealed
Until our Lord and Savior
Jesus is come to reign
As You have decreed.
Until then, Father, I pray
That we, Your children, will be
About the business You’ve called us to.
Touch our lives and our minds;
Open our eyes, and give us ears to hear
So that we might truly be able
To know and understand
All that You want us to be and do;
And to do it as willingly here on earth
As it is done in Heaven.
Father, I thank You for this day,
And for all the ones before,
And I pray Father, that You will help us all
To look at each day as Your gift to us;
As another opportunity to learn
Who we are to be, and how we’re to live,
And how we’re to love
Our neighbors, our friends, our families,
Our enemies, and You.
Father, God, I pray that You
Would show us all
That we’re to love the unlovable;
That we’re to serve those undeserving,
That we’re to support and encourage
And pray for those over us.
Father, God, I pray for those in the Middle East,
For all those people, those individuals, Your children
Who are suffering at the hands of those who hate.
Father, please don’t let us forget
That You love all people.
Help us to love those who are in the grip of evil;
Who are being used and manipulated
To bring harm and destruction
To the innocent, and
Those who have done them no harm.
I pray You place a hedge of protection over
All Your children.
Lead, guide and direct them, Father,
To a place of safety and shelter.
Stay the hand of those who wish
To persecute them, and send to them
Those who can bring them aid and relief
From the terrible trials
I pray that You will be with Your people, Israel,
And I pray that You will strengthen them;
That You will give them wisdom, and courage;
And, that You will remind all nations
Of Your promise to bless those
Who bless them,
And curse those who curse them.
Father, I pray that You would use
Your children to remind
Our men and women in leadership
That to not stand with Israel
Is to stand against You.
Turn us from this path, Father,
And help us, Your children,
To restore our devotion to
Your chosen people, and to show them
Your love, and to reassure them
Of our commitment and willingness
To help and stand with them.
Father, I ask You to be with Your children
In this country You’ve blessed so much.
Father, You have blessed us, and
Made us a nation like no other.
You have made us great
As You have made Israel great,
But Father remind us
That our greatness
Came through our love and commitment
To You, and Your chosen people;
The nation of Israel.
I ask You, Father, to touch the lives
Of Your Servants in this country.
I pray Father, that You would create a fire
Within the hearts and minds of all
Those who preach and teach Your Holy Word.
Father, make us stand, and declare
Your Holy Word in all it’s truth.
Use the Godly men of this country, Father,
To remind Your children,
And the people of this nation that
You are Supreme;
That You are Sovereign, and
All powerful, and
That You are as much a God
Of justice and truth,
As You are a God of mercy and love.
Father, I ask You to please forgive me
Of my sins, and the sins of this nation.
We have sinned against You.
We have spit in Your face.
We have taken the blessings You’ve given us,
And laid claim to them as if
We gave them to ourselves.
We praise You with our lips,
But our hearts are far removed
From You, and Your Holy Word.
Have mercy upon us.
Do not let us go as those nations
Have gone who have
Come against You and Your people.
Father, God, we don’t deserve
All that You have given us.
We don’t deserve Your love.
We do deserve Your wrath;
For our denial,
For our refusal,
For our failure,
To stand for those things
That are precious in Your sight.
We have killed the unborn;
We have taken every form of
Wickedness and vice
And celebrate them, and promote them,
And call them entertainment.
We encourage greed
And the growth of self
To the point where we can not
See beyond ourselves.
Father, forgive us.
Turn Your anger from us, and cleanse us.
Create in me, and our nation a new heart.
Teach us to follow You,
Teach us what it is to have faith and trust.
Show us that they are more
Than mere words,
But that they are actions
Which must be taken and shown,
And above all, lived.
Keep us from the temptations
That are all around us.
All the evil that beckons us
To turn our eyes from You,
And that stops up our ears
So that we can not
Hear Your voice.
Deliver us from the evil that
Threatens to overwhelm us.
Let us not be taken
In by clever lies,
And the praise of false lips,
And the promise of
Things that will never come.
Let us rejoice in You;
Let us glory in the fact that we
Know You, and that You
Are our Almighty God;
That Your Kingdom is even now
And that You are and will forever
Be all Powerful,
And that Your Glory
Will one future day outshine the sun,
And we shall live in it’s light
In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.
LIVING IN THE FLOW OF GOD’S BLESSINGS
When they were slaves in Egypt, the Israelites had to pump water from the Nile River to irrigate their crops and put food on the table. Can you imagine slaving every day on an old foot pump just to get by? But then things changed for the better. God told them, “Go in and take over the land…flowing with milk and honey…not like the land of Egypt…where you planted your seed and irrigated it by foot” (vv 8-10 NIV). There’s a lesson here. You can reach a place in your walk with God where you get “off the pump and into the flow”; where you stop “sweating it,” because God’s goodness flows into every area of your life. But this promise is conditional–it’s for those who obey God: “Observe therefore all the commandments I am giving you today, so that you may have the strength to go in and take over the land” (v. 8 NIV). Obedience is like having the right access code. It enables you to make withdrawals on God’s blessing because you are walking in His will. We all want to live in the flow of God’s blessing, right? Yet too few of us do. Who are these “blessed” people? (1) Those who act on God’s instructions. (2) Those who confront the giants of fear in their life. (3) Those that refuse to be swayed by the “wilderness mentality” of others. (4) Those who have the faith to say, “The Lord…will lead us into that land…[He] will give it to us…do not be afraid (Nu 14:8-9 NIV). And you can be one of those people.