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CAnyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.    1 John 4:8

Many of us are devoted to the loving God portrayed by John in his first epistle, but we are not as fond of the wrathful side of His character. Like it or not, however, the Bible tells us that God is a Consuming Fire. The original words that were translated as “consuming fire” meant, literally, a fire that completely incinerates or destroys.

This name of God appeared first in Deuteronomy 4:24 when Moses was giving his final instructions to the Israelites before he was gathered to his ancestors, a Biblical euphemism for death. He warned the people against idol worship, because God was a jealous God and was not pleased when His people worshipped anyone but Him. Moses further warned that God was a consuming fire and that they didn’t want to anger Him.

As Moses continued his discourse, he offered some encouragement to the Israelites. In chapter 9 he told the people not to worry as they crossed the Jordan River into the land God had promised. Even though they would find fortified cities and nations of huge men who were equipped for battle, Moses assured them that if they were faithful to God’s commandments, the Consuming Fire would go before them and destroy their enemies. Their enemies were also God’s enemies because they worshipped idols in ways that were abominable to Him.

ElijahGod exhibited His fiery wrath several times in the Old Testament. In the book of Leviticus, Aaron’s sons Abihu and Nahab offered unauthorized fire before the Lord, and God’s consuming fire destroyed them. In the book of 1 Kings, Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal to a duel of sacrifices–the god who responded with fire would be the winner. For hours, Baal’s prophets shouted, danced, and slashed themselves with sharp objects, but Baal did not respond. When Elijah’s turn came, he prayed a simple prayer, and fire fell from heaven, consuming the sacrifice, the wood, the stone altar, and the water Elijah had poured into trenches surrounding the altar.

God is a consuming fire because He is holy, and His holiness burns up anything that is not holy. That would be good news if He had our back when we were facing an army of giant Anakites, but when we’re facing God Himself with only our own goodness to offer, it is bad news. Isaiah said that our most righteous deeds are as filthy rags when compared to God’s standards, and the filthy rags he referred to were the bandages that had been used by lepers. The author of Hebrews told us to “offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.”

Our dilemma is this–if our best isn’t good enough, how can we offer acceptable worship. Paul gives the answer in his second letter to the Corinthians.

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.      2 Corinthians 5:21

God is a consuming fire, but He is also a God of love. Paul told us in Romans that, through His love, God has provided a way for us to put on the Lord Jesus Christ. Through Him, we can stand before a Holy God.

Some other names of God that begin with the letter C are:

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.     Isaiah 9:6

Therefore thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I am the one who has laid as a foundation in Zion, a stone, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation: ‘Whoever believes will not be in haste.’      Isaiah 28:16

Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.      Isaiah 40:28

Blessings,

Linda

Sources:

The Bible Hub http://biblehub.com/hebrews/12-29.htm

Got Questions http://www.gotquestions.org/consuming-fire.html#ixzz2xI7peb6u

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Comments on: "A to Z Challenge–The Names of God—C is for Consuming Fire | by Linda Brendle" (13)

  1. I found the fact that you mentioned how “God is a consuming fire, but He is also a God of love.”

    One of the first studies I did was of Proverbs 1:7: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” I wanted to learn more about the fear I must have been missing, because what I felt was love. So, I took it back to the Hebrew to see what word was translated to get fear. Do you know what it was? “yir’ah” Most closely translated, it means “reverence.” How perfect is that? Just as you put it, that beginning of understanding is to recognize that he is both a consuming fire and love. He can burn away all the elements–the evil, yet while protecting His children. We could stand in his fire and not have one hair singed.

    Fools, on the other hand, either want to use our Father’s power for a reason to despise Him, or to fool themselves into thinking that His love makes Him weak and safe to mock.

    Anyway, great post. I’m printing it out for my LO’s folder right *now.* 🙂

  2. I love this! So many people concentrate on the loving aspects of God and forget about the Consuming Fire part. God is both and the consuming fire also purifies us. Like gold, we need fire to purify us into a precious treasure. I loved this post and I am so thankful that God is with me! 🙂

  3. Your theme is fascinating! I’m enjoying it.

  4. Linda, I am really enjoying your posts. I am amazed at your knowledge and look forward to learning more and more. I admit – I focus on the loving God. I had trouble wrapping my arms around the ‘consuming fire’ God in one of my first Bible study groups.

    • Thank you, Lisa. I’m thankful for the information that is so easily accessible on the Internet and for a husband and a pastor who are available to answer my questions! You and I are learning together!
      Blessings,
      Linda

  5. Seems the powerful of gods.
    Almost all of them listed by you coincide with the Gods in Indian scriptures too and for this consuming fire is called Lord Agni.Interesting!!

  6. […] A to Z Challenge – The Names of God – C is for Consuming Fire | by Linda Brendle (lifeaftercaregiving.wordpress.com) God was a jealous God and was not pleased when His people worshipped anyone but Him. Moses further warned that God was a consuming fire and that they didn’t want to anger Him. As Moses continued his discourse, he offered some encouragement to the Israelites. + God is a consuming fire, but He is also a God of love. Paul told us in Romans that, through His love, God has provided a way for us to put on the Lord Jesus Christ. Through Him, we can stand before a Holy God. […]

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