Summary: This text separates those who are spiritually pretense from those who are spiritually intense. It is like the question the demon’s asked of the seven sons of Sceva, “Paul, we know, Jesus we know, but who are you?”
Fire Upon Thine Altar
Leviticus 6:13 The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out.
The bible tells us that ... “the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” This text in Leviticus is one of those probing texts, that cuts through the image we present to others and shows us what we truly are. It is a text that is like the letting down of the anchor that probes the oceans bottom below, and gives a wise captain knowledge of the depth of the passageway beneath his ship. Even as a sailor would call out in ancient days, “20 fathoms, captain! 15 fathoms, captain! 10 fathoms captain!”, this text will sound you out. It will echo and resonate in the corridors of your heart and ask of thee, “Hast thou left thy first love?”
This text is a probing one. It asks of thee, “is there fire upon the altar of thine heart.” “Of what quality is it?” “Is there anything that obscures it?” “Of what intensity level does it burn?” “Is it a flickering flame, smoldering flax, a glowing coal, or a roaring inferno?”
It will cause you to examine the state of the fire upon thine altar, and it gives you a standard by which it must be judged, “it shall be ever burning.” The word burning can cover a lot of different meanings from smoldering to blazing inferno. The Hebrew word translated burning is, “yaw kad.” The depth and intensity of its meaning is exemplified by this passage in Deuteronomy 32:22, where God is expressing His anger at the Jews for worshipping false Gods, and not having faith in Him, “For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains.” It speaks of a consuming fire,
This text separates those who are spiritually pretense from those who are spiritually intense. It is like the question the demon’s asked of the seven sons of Sceva, “Paul, we know, Jesus we know, but who are you?” It is the amount, and intensity of fire upon your spiritual altar that answers that question better than any other. It cannot be answered by the fire you once had, or the fire you recently had, as deep calls out to deep it searches your being for its own echo. Your fire has to answer its question.
This text is both a commandment and an encouragement. As a commandment it tells of God’s requirement, as an encouragement it implies God’s help in the matter. It is a commandment, which speaks of man’s solemn obligations in the matter. It is an encouragement in that, since it is a commandment of God, God will provide the necessary grace to see that we are able to fulfill it. For He is the only source of the fire He commands we have.
Sometimes it only takes a spark to get a fire going. Here are some sparks from others, and from the Word itself, I trust they will wet your appetite to be alive with the presence and power of God, and that they will help kindle fresh, “Fire Upon Thine Altar.”
Kindled From On High; by William Arthur
It is only by waiting before the throne of grace that we become endued with the Holy Fire. He who waits there long and believingly will imbibe that Fire and come forth from his communion with God bearing tokens of where he has been. The only way to gain spiritual power is by secret waiting at the throne of God for the enduement.
If you would have your soul kindled with the Fire of God you must draw near to the source of that Fire, to the throne of God and of the Lamb, and shut yourself out from the world - that cold world which so swiftly steals our Fire away. Enter into your closet and shut the door and there, isolated before the throne, await the Fire. It will fill you and when you come forth, holy power will attend you and you shall labor not in your own strength but “in demonstration of the Spirit and of Power” (1 Cor. 2:4).
Unction by E. M. Bounds
This unction comes to the preacher not in the study but in the closet. It is heaven’s distillation in answer to prayer. It is the sweetest exhalation of the Holy Spirit. It impregnates, suffuses, softens, percolates, cuts, and soothes. It carries the Word like dynamite, like salt, like sugar; makes the Word a soother, an arranger, a revealer, a searcher; makes the hearer a culprit or a saint, makes him weep like a child and live like a giant; opens his heart and his purse as gently, yet as strongly as the spring opens the leaves. This unction is not the gift of genius. It is not found in the halls of learning. No eloquence can woo it. No industry can win it. No prelatical hands can confer it. It is the gift of God -- the signet set to his own messengers. It is heaven’s knighthood given to the chosen true and brave ones who have sought this anointed honor through many an hour of tearful, wrestling prayer.