Our God is a consuming fire
Scripture readings: Psalm 15, 24
When you try to picture God, what comes to your mind?
-Is God a grandfatherly figure?
-Does some sort of image of Jesus come to mind (perhaps as the Bread of life, the Door, the Good Shepherd, The
-Does a lion come to mind (akin to C.S Lewis' story of God depicted as a great lion called Aslan)
-Does the image of Jesus in his radiant glory - on the Mount of Transfiguration- enter into your thoughts?
-Does a king in all His glory come to mind?
-How about the image of a judge?
-What about God as loving Father, as a Rock of refuge
The Scriptures depict God in a variety of ways
As a shepherd, as a husband, as the King of kings, in radiant glory, with a vast angelic army, As one ruling from his
Heavenly throne, as a Rock, as a sacrificial lamb,
Most often, our images of God come from the 100 plus different names by which God goes and from Jesus' earthly
Today I want to introduce to a depiction of God that we don't often ponder: God as a consuming fire.
In Isaiah 33:10-16, which is part of a passage of great hope and joy for the people of Judah (for in this passage Isaiah'
prophecies the peoples deliverance from their Assyrian oppressors- context is found in Isaiah 36-37, 2 Kings 18-19)
God is likened to a consuming fire.
SCRIPTURES DEPICTING GOD AS A CONSUMING FIRE
In Deuteronomy 4:23-24, Moses, speaking to the people said; "Be careful not to forget the covenant of the LORD your
God that he made with you; do not make for yourselves an idol in the form of anything the LORD your God has
forbidden. For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God."
In Deuteronomy 9:1-3 Moses said to the people; "Hear, O Israel. You are now about to cross the Jordan to go in and
dispossess nations greater and stronger than you, with large cities that have walls up to the sky. The people are tall
and strong- Anakites! you know about them and have heard it said: "Who can stand up against the Anakites!" But be
assured today that the LORD your God is the one who goes across ahead of you like a consuming/devouring fire. He
will destroy them; he will subdue them before you. And you will drive them out and annihilate them quickly, as the
LORD has promised you."
In Exodus 19:16-19 as it regards Moses receiving the 10 commandments from the Lord on Mt. Sinai it says; "On the
morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, with a thick cloud over the mountain, and a very loud
trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp trembled. 17 Then Moses led the people out of the camp to meet with God, and
they stood at the foot of the mountain. 18 Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the LORD descended on it
in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, the whole mountain trembled violently, 19 and the
sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder. Then Moses spoke and the voice of God answered him.
In Exodus 24:15-18 additional details are provided as it say; "When Moses went up on the mountain, the cloud
covered it, 16 and the glory of the LORD settled on Mount Sinai. For six days the cloud covered the mountain, and on
the seventh day the LORD called to Moses from within the cloud. 17 To the Israelites the glory of the LORD looked
like a consuming fire on top of the mountain. 18 Then Moses entered the cloud as he went on up the mountain. And
he stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights."
Tying Exodus 19, and 24 together is Hebrews 12:14-29 which concludes with these words "Therefore, since we are
receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and
awe, for our "God is a consuming fire."
READ ISAIAH 33:10-16
Related Scriptures that reinforce the depiction of God as a consuming fire
Leviticus 10:1-3, Malachi 4:1-4, Psalm 97, Nahum 1:1-10, Numbers 11:1, I Kings 18, Daniel 7:9-10, Revelation 1:12-16.
Some thoughts on God as a consuming fire
1. We are reminded of the awesome glory of God
2. This depiction is meant to invoke reverence, awe, and a holy fear
3. We are reminded of the holiness of God.
4. By this depiction we are reminded that God is not safe-- in and of ourselves/apart from Christ, we cannot stand
5. We are reminded of God's anger towards those who are in rebellion against Him and what God will do to them
when He comes-- In his coming He will destroy them, He will sweep them away, He will ultimately cast them into
6. We are reminded of the purifying work that God does in His children
In relation to this 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 says; "By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder,
and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation
other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly
stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be
revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. If what he has built survives, he will
receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through
THE BIG QUESTION OF ISAIAH 33:10-16 -AS IT CONCERNS GOD BEING A CONSUMING FIRE
Isaiah 33:14 "The sinners in Zion are terrified; trembling grips the godless: "Who of us can dwell with the consuming
fire? Who us can dwell with the everlasting burning?"
Since God is a consuming fire, is at all possible to dwell with Him?
Since God is a consuming fire, is it at all possible to stand before Him?
THIS QUESTION OF WHO CAN DWELL WITH GOD- which is at the heart of Isaiah 33:14- is also asked in Psalm 15
and Psalm 24
Observe that all 3 passages give the same basic answer
Righteous people, holy people, people who are devoted in their hearts to God and His ways: These are the ones
who can dwell with God. These are the ones who will escape His wrath. These are the ones who will experience His
blessings and joy
THE ANSWER THAT ONLY RIGHTEOUS PEOPLE CAN DWELL WITH GOD HIGHLIGHTS A PROBLEM THAT IS OURS
We are sinners! In and of ourselves we are not righteous. In and of ourselves we are wicked and disposed to doing
what is wrong in the sight of God. (Romans 3:10-18, Genesis 6:5; 8:21, etc)
THERE IS A SOLUTION TO OUR SIN PROBLEM. THERE IS A WAY TO DWELL WITH GOD! THERE IS A WAY TO COME
TO BE REGARDED AS RIGHTEOUS IN THE SIGHT OF GOD
The solution is Jesus and His sacrificial work on the cross!
"For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God" 1 Peter 3:18
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God 2
Romans 8:1-4 says; "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through
Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless
to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be
a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be
fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.
Romans 3:20-25 says; "Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through
the law we become conscious of sin. But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to
which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who
believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his
grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus
GOD IS A CONSUMING FIRE
-this speaks to His holiness, to his majesty, to His power
-such reminds us of the purifying and cleansing work that He does in the hearts of His children
-such also reminds us of His anger that is directed towards those who are in rebellion against Him.
-One day, in His anger and wrath He will come to destroy and do away with the wicked (See Isaiah 30:27-33 and note
the joy of the righteous)
-Before Him we ought to bow in reverence, holy fear, and worship.
GREAT NEWS: THERE IS A WAY TO STAND BEFORE HIM AND NOT BE CONSUMED!
JESUS AND HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS THAT HE GIVES TO THOSE WHO PUT THEIR FAITH IN HIM AS SAVIOR AND LORD-
THAT'S THE ONLY WAY
Do you know Him? Are you ready to meet God? Will you be able to stand before Him confidently?
"There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" Romans 8:1