“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:29, NKJV).
This passage and others like it are sobering to me. God is awesome in nature and power and yet, it seems many believers view Him as this disconnected force out there somewhere that we will one day experience when we die and go to Heaven.
The God of the New Testament is the same, unchanging God of the Old Testament. In the Old Testament, we are presented with a view of God that is all-powerful, often invoking a sense of awe and fear in those with whom He is dealing. God’s wrath has always stood against sin, the very reason Jesus came to bear the sins of everyone of us. Now, we may freely come boldly to the throne of grace (see Hebrews 4:16) and receive mercy.
God first called Moses from a burning bush. “And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So, he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed.” (Exodus 3:2, NKJV). Moses discovered both the gentleness and the power of God that day. It was this meeting in which he was commissioned and empowered to return to Egypt and set God’s people free.
Later, as Moses declared to the people that they were to cross over the Jordan river to a land filled with giants, God would go before them, and He would do so as a consuming fire (see Deuteronomy 9:1-3). Having left Egypt, on their way to the Promised Land, “The Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light, so that they might travel by day and by night.” (Exodus 13:21, Modern English Version – MEV).
As Israel gathered at the base of Mt. Sinai, we see an incredible scene unfolding: “Now Mount Sinai was completely covered in smoke because the Lord had descended upon it in fire, and the smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain shook violently.” (Exodus 19:21, MEV).
In the above passages, I believe a clearer picture comes into view. At the burning bush, God displayed His power and sovereignty to Moses, but also His love. I wonder what that moment must have been like. Many people have had a “burning bush” experience; an encounter that changed their life forever – I know I did and I’ve never been the same.
God wanted His people to know that where He led them, He would do so powerfully, and they could depend on His protection. He desired to light their way. The Bible is evidence of this, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (Psalm 119:105, MEV).
Do you know this awesome God of ours who desires to lead us, guide our way and protect us? He wants to know you. More next week!
Rob Granger and his wife, Becky, serve as Executive Pastors of Grace Church San Marcos under Senior Pastors Brian and Melissa Bauer. Located at 855 E. Barham Drive, San Marcos, Grace San Marcos meets at 10 a.m. Sundays and 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays with meetings for youth, children and other groups scheduled throughout the week. Visit www.gracesanmarcos.net for further information.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the Times-Advocate.