Wednesday, January 2, 2013
The God of Fire
Can you imagine the stories that must have circulated from generation to generation among the children of Israel? The parting of the Red Sea, the manna that fell from heaven, and the pillar of fire and cloud that followed them, were just a few of the highlights. But, one that must have been told with a holy hush was the story of Moses returning from his visit with God, his face glowing so much that he had to cover it.
This reality, that someone who encounters God comes away radically transformed, became part of their cultural DNA. Moses had a hunger to meet with God and he had a burning desire to see His glory. After his encounter with God, where God lovingly shielded him from too much glory, his face shone with a light that must have amazed those who saw him.
It is this scenario that makes the language of Psalm 80:3 much more understandable. Restore us, O God Almighty; make your face shine upon us, that we may be saved. The Psalmist understood what those who walked with Moses must have known; it is impossible to encounter God's glory and not be changed. Throughout the Psalm he repeatedly cries out for restoration, but it is equally important to note that he has an understanding that it would be God's shining face or His glory that would bring about the depth of salvation and deliverance he so longed for.
It's these thoughts, and a burning desire to see more of His glory, that fill my heart and mind as we enter 2013. I'm so thankful for how He came in 2012, and the increase that we have seen in His presence. But, as one who has been in some type of ministry for over 30 years, I know that I know, that in order to see the dreams of my heart, or the great harvest prophesied by so many, I need a greater encounter with the God of glory.
In much the same way as Elijah when he faced the prophets of Baal, our backs are to the wall. We are facing a Godless culture who desperately need to see a demonstration of His power and glory. It will require the type of radical faith that Elijah had when he stood alone to face 450 prophets of Baal. As he gave the orders and prepared a place for God to come, he was walking in a steady, deep confidence that His God would come.
My favorite line from the story is set against this very backdrop of wood and sacrifice, 'The God who answers by fire-He is God'. Though I doubt that we will see a physical display such as Elijah saw in this incredible encounter, I can't help thinking that He is still the God who answers by fire. Isn't this what we need? We need a radical encounter with the God of Fire. We need to encounter the fire of His glory.
This is my prayer for 2013....that we will have the type of encounters with God that Moses had, that God's face would shine upon us in unprecedented measure, and that we would experience the God of demonstration and power such as Elijah saw. May He give us all the faith, tenacity, and courage to pursue Him until He answers by fire.