Summary: We need to carefully tend the fire of God in our lives. Here’s how.
"The Fire Of God"
How many of you have or had wood stoves?
They may cut back on your fuel bill, but they require lots of time and attention.
These days lots of people have pellet stoves. Less work than wood stoves, but still more economical than fuel or natural gas.
In the Tabernacle it was the responsibility of the priests to tend the fire of the altar.
This task may seem menial at first, but because it was done in the Lord’ service in the Tabernacle it actually was quite an honor.
There are three principles of tending the fire that illustrate the need for us to tend the fire of God in our lives.
1. Keep the fire burning. (9,12,13)
The fire upon the altar had to be kept burning continually because God had started it. (see 9:22-24)
The demand for perpetual fire upon the altar shows that God wants us to worship Him with consistent devotion and not sporadic enthusiasm.
If we worship only when we "feel" like it it really isn’t worship...
The New Testament fulfillment of this is seen in Romans 12:11, "Keep your spiritual fervor.". (NIV)
It means to keep the fire burning.
2. Keep the fire clean. (10,11)
Ashes will keep a fire from burning cleanly.
In our burn barrel at home, where we burn non-recyclable paper products, we have to empty the ashes periodically or else the fire does not burn well.
Ashes come from what will not burn completely in a fire.
The ashes from a fire will not ascend upward.
Notice that the ashes were to be taken outside the camp to be discarded. (11)
The ashes in our fires come from sin, selfishness, defilement, corruption and so on.
A fire will burn brightest and hottest when it is kept free from ashes.
3. Keep the fire fresh. (12)
The fire was to be tended daily because the sacrifices were to be offered daily in the morning and evening. (see Exodus 29:38-43)
The wood was to be supplied for the fire every morning (12).
We need to keep our spiritual fervor fresh by fueling it every day with "wood". Word. Prayer. Worship. Service. Fellowship.
How’s the fire of God on your altar today?
Is it burning? Is it clean? Is it fresh?
Carefully tending the fire of God is not only a divine command, but a blessed privilege as well.
If we desire to be people of God’s presence we need to carefully tend the fire of God upon the altar of our hearts.