The voice of the LORD flashes forth flames of fire.
Last night I had our wood stove burning big. (“I. HAVE. MADE. FIRE!” … and yes I have have a genuine Wilson Volley ball with the bloody handprint that looks like a face printed on it, but I try not to talk to it too much.)
We have a glass door so we can see all the drama as wood and flame meet. The wood glows and breaks apart as it transforms. The flames dance and curl like they’re being held against their will by the wood. Neither are aware that we’re just using their crisis to warm ourselves. We’re disinterested observers otherwise. The next morning, when all is done, there is nothing left of either but ashes and a little soot on the inside of the glass. It reminds me of the Gospel.
When Christ came for us He knew He came to die. We’re deadly beings. For Him, being with us was guaranteed to be deadly. Death itself is something our actions in Genesis 3 brought about. Jesus had all His power and such life-giving words, but, like the flame with the wood, our transformation would cost Him everything. The flame dies when the wood is gone. Christ became our sins like the flame seems to try to become the wood. He died to make our sins become ashes, in the eternal sense of their consequences anyway. If our sins are ashes, if we are dead to our sins, then we live. He had to die for this.
As the wood stove really gets going, the flames form a circle around the wood like a wheel or a crown. The flames hover. It feels like God still works this way, especially when I’m in trouble. He still speaks with fire.