Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Today’s Topic: Fuel for the Fire
Today’s Text: The Light of Israel will become a fire, their Holy One a flame; in a single day it will burn and consume his thorns and his briers. The splendor of his forests and fertile fields it will completely destroy, as when a sick man wastes away. And the remaining trees of his forests will be so few that a child could write them down. In that day the remnant of Israel, the survivors of the house of Jacob, will no longer rely on him who struck them down but will truly rely on the LORD, the Holy One of Israel. (Isaiah 10:17-20)
Recently I enjoyed several days of camping with my family. All the kids and grandkids were there at one time or another. We shared meals and spent time in the boat and on the beach. We did nature walks through the woods with the grandkids. And we had campfires. I love campfires. It’s the best time of the day, so as much as possible, we keep the fire burning all day to make the whole day great. Anytime there’s any stress at all you can just go sit in a lawn chair by the fire and relax. It’s therapeutic.
But fires take fuel. On the weekend we camped we stayed through Monday, so Sunday afternoon, when all the other campers were leaving, I took the Jeep and drove through the campground looking for firewood that had been left behind. I came back with enough wood to last us Sunday and Monday and still brought some home for the next trip.
Yesterday on Facebook, a friend from down south posted something that got me thinking about fire and fuel. Then this morning I read the passage above from the book of Isaiah. I’m now more convinced than ever of the truth I heard from my friend. He said, in my paraphrased version, that we have no right to ask the refining fire of God to come upon us unless we are willing to become the fuel!!
When God’s people had wandered far enough into the ways of sin, the Light of Israel became a consuming fire to purify them. He burned everything so that those who were willing to be refined would rely upon Him alone and not on their own wisdom and strength. That is what God wants to do to each one of us – refine us with fire so His light shines in and through us.
As we sat around the campfire, making sure the kids didn’t get too close, we took turns poking at it and moving coals around so that everything would burn as brightly as possible. We added more fuel when necessary. In our spiritual lives we must do the same. We must let the Holy Spirit poke around in our hearts and minds and stir up the coals that are blackened with sin. We must search the entire campsite of our lives for any fuel that has been left behind by past failures – fuel that will ignite into sin if not burned in God’s Holy fire first. We must want the fire of God’s holiness to burn as brightly as possible is us.
So today, spend some time looking for firewood. Then let the Holy One become the flame in you that burns every log, stick, and woodchip so that you no longer rely upon yourself, but on the LORD!