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Tuesday, 20 March, 2018

2 Chronicles 7 : 1-22

"When Solomon finished praying fire descended from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the LORD filled the temple" (2 Chron. 7:1)

It was the long-awaited day for king Solomon and his people to dedicate the temple, a magnificent structure built to house the Ark of the Covenant. Solomon spoke to the people and then knelt before the altar, spreading his hands towards heaven and prayed (2 Chron.6). As Solomon finished his prayer of dedication, fire descended from heaven and the glory of the Lord filled the temple.

This encounter teaches us about what happens when we offer ourselves to God and He ignites us.  In the Bible we see several instances of the fire experience where God used fire to identify His presence. To Moses, God spoke through a burning bush; to Elijah, God consumed the sacrifice and the altar with fire from heaven; God visited the first believers in Jerusalem with tongues of fire; here to Solomon and the worshippers at the Temple, God’s manifest presence came as fire from heaven.

Malachi 3:2 says, “For He is like a refiner’s fire….” The purifying fire of God’s presence sets us apart and makes us holy. People who are touched by this fire from God are separated from the world. Jesus prayed that all his followers would be separated from the world and be sanctified. Sanctification is being set apart for sacred or holy purpose, being separated from the world, from sin and from all evil. Our separation shows up in how we think, talk and live.

When the fire of God touches us, we repent, so sin can be removed, and God can reside in our heart. The consuming fire of God compels us to worship God. Worship is our response to God’s presence, His holiness, and His glory. Worship is expressing our love to God for who He is and what He has done for us. In genuine worship, we realise that Jesus paid the price for our sins on the cross and we are now redeemed and free in Christ to worship God.

The spreading fire of God leads us to be witnesses for God. While fire is to purify and to consume, its nature is also to spread. God not only wants His presence to consume us resulting in our worship; He also wants His fire to spread into the hearts of others, bringing a connection between worship and witnessing. Worship puts in us a desire to tell others about Christ. God spoke to Solomon thus: “and if My people who are called by My name humble themselves, pray and seek My face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.” (Vs.14). The Temple represented Solomon and his people’s worship and partnership with God. Of the Temple God spoke: “For now I have chosen and consecrated this house that My name may be there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually.” (Vs.16). It was a witness to the nations around them. Just as Solomon and the people of God were witness to the living God, each believer and the Church are His witnesses today!

The fire that falls on us compels us to burn for others. When one is on fire for God they cannot help but tell others about the glory, greatness and goodness of God. Witnessing God is a natural outcome of one who is in love with God.  A person truly consumed by the fire from above has a passion for God and compassion for others.

Thought: Is your heart aglow for God- separated from the world, responding to God in worship, being a faithful witness for Christ? Let us conduct a spiritual audit today!

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