So I will send a fire upon ….”
Amos 1:4, 7, 10, 12,
As a young boy I was fascinated by fire. I suppose most young boys are.
The Fourth of July was also my favorite time of year for fire.
My parents always had a big party on the Fourth of July starting in 1976 – the United States Bicentennial year.
Part of our celebration was to set off fireworks that we would buy either in Wisconsin or in Indiana.
Lots of bottle rockets, firecrackers, sparklers, and more made our celebrations glorious.
It is a testament to the grace of God that I still have all ten of my fingers!
I still love the Fourth of July and fireworks, but I much prefer to watch professionally staged shows and leave all the dangerous stuff to those professionals.
The reason is that I have a healthy respect for fire and its destructive nature.
In 2006 I was called to pastor a church in Southern California. I had heard about wildfires, but our second year there I witnessed the destructive nature of these fires more closely then I would have wanted to.
The first major fire was in the Anaheim hills. We never saw the flames from where we lived, but the smoke from that fire blew into our valley, prompting us to cancel school for a couple of days due to such poor air quality.
Thankfully, the flames never reached our residential areas and the smoke, for the most part, was blown away from us.
But after the sun set you could see the glowing hotspots in the hills above our home. It was eerie and not a little scary.
During little league baseball games, helicopters carrying hundreds of gallons of water would fly low over the fields on their way to drop their load on the fires in the hills around us.
We had an up close and personal view of the destructive nature of fire.
What was fascinating to a young boy becomes, at best, a healthy respect. At its worst, it becomes a dreaded fear.
And this is nothing new, I suspect. Ever since death was introduced into God’s creation by Adam and Eve’s Fall into sin, death by fire has been a mortal fear of mankind.
In the prophecy of God through his servant Amos, God warns and threatens the enemies of his people with destruction by fire.
This is how serious God’s love for his people runs. He loves his own so much that he will destroy those who try to destroy his people with fire.
But ultimately, Jesus himself will face a fire within his own bones to finally eradicate death once and for all.
Like the goat that is slaughtered for the sin offering for the people is then burned on the altar, so Christ sheds his blood on the cross. Hanging there for six hours, his muscles and bones will burn with pain.
Our sin is atoned for by Jesus Christ. Those who do not reject Christ but live in saving faith will be spared the destructive fire that is awaiting this world.
Fire will be used to destroy this sin-stained world and afterward, God will create a new heaven and a new earth.
Those who reject Christ will be cast – along with Satan and his demons – in the lake of fire prepared for them because of their rebellion.
We should have a healthy respect for fire but need not fear the ultimate fire because Christ paid the price for our sin and gives us his righteousness in place of our sin. This Good News of salvation is offered to each one of us in the Gospel of Jesus!
©2017 True Men Ministries