God’s Presence Is Like A Purifying Fire
For our God is a devouring fire (Hebrews 12:29-NLT).
In scripture, God reveals Himself as both Fire and Light. Both of these elements speak of purity, and move us as believers to seek to cleanse ourselves from the pollution of a dark and immoral world.
Ezekiel saw God in a vision, and He was awesome! Notice Ezekiel 1:27 (NLT):
From what appeared to be His waist up, He looked like gleaming amber, flickering like a fire. And from His waist down, He looked like a burning flame, shining with splendor.
Moses saw God on top of Mount Sinai, and again, God revealed Himself in fire. We read in Exodus 19:18 (NLT): All of Mount Sinai was covered with smoke because the Lord had descended on it in the form of fire. The smoke billowed into the sky like smoke from a brick kiln, and the whole mountain shook violently.
John saw Jesus on the Isle of Patmos, and again, there was fire involved. Notice Revelation 1:14 (NLT): His head and His hair were white like wool, as white as snow. And His eyes were like flames of fire.
Fire is known for its purifying qualities. Metals heated by fire become pure as the impurities in it are brought to the surface by the high temperatures of the fire. It’s interesting to me that God reveals Himself as a Fire, and that we are, as John the Baptist said, baptised with the Holy Spirit and fire. I baptize you with water; but someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not even worthy to be His slave and untie the straps of His sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire (Luke 3:16-NLT).
God also reveals Himself in Scripture as Light. John reveals in 1 John 1:5 (NLT): This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in Him at all.
Notice what happened to Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration: Six days later Jesus took Peter and the two brothers, James and John, and led them up a high mountain to be alone. As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance was transformed so that His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as light (Matthew 17:1-2 – NLT).
When Moses came down from Mount Sinai after being with God for forty days, his face shone with a bright light. The pigment of Moses’ skin was imbued with the Glory of God until is glowed!When Moses came down Mount Sinai carrying the two stone tablets inscribed with the terms of the covenant, he wasn’t aware that his face had become radiant because he had spoken to the Lord. So when Aaron and the people of Israel saw the radiance of Moses’ face, they were afraid to come near him (Exodus 34:29-30- NLT).
Pauls mentioned God’s light to the believers in Ephesus who lived in a dark, immoral culture: For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true (Ephesians 5:8-9-NLT).
Many years ago I started a painting business to supplement my income as a traveling minister just starting out. After we had painted the wall of a new home, we would shine a bright light on their wall so we could see any imperfections in the wall’s surface and in our paint application. Light shows imperfections and flaws.
The closer we get to Jesus, and the more we fellowship with our Father God, the brighter His light shines into us and shows us where we need to improve. for the light makes everything visible. Perhaps this is why Paul said, Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light (Ephesians 5:14-NLT).
This process of God’s fire and light searching us and purifying us may be best seen in Moses’ prayer in Psalm 90:8. Notice the Amplified Translation: Our iniquities, our secret heart and its sins [which we would so like to conceal even from ourselves], You have set in the revealing light of Your countenance.
Don’t be afraid of the fire and the light of your Father God. It will not hurt you. But it will transform you. His fire and light are like molten love! Invite His presence into your person. Ask Him to reveal any darkness that you can’t see. You will find that His searching love will penetrate every motive, every thought, every opinion, every desire, every word, and every action and reaction you have in life. He will with His pure presence of light and fire place in you a desire to change anything in your life that is unlike Him. And you will find what Paul said in 2 Corinthians 3:18 working in your life: But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.