Hebrews: Day 16

A consuming fire

by

Today's Text: Hebrews 12:18-29

Text: Hebrews 12:18-29

“Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe.”
– Hebrews 12:28

When I read much of the Old Testament, I’m filled with awe. I think that is an appropriate response to Yahweh, the God of the Old Testament (and really, also the New). I read of our God who led men into battle, who overcame a giant using the faith and diligence of a shepherd boy, who burned in a bush. I see God who used majesty, and miracles of nature, and a whole lot of the Law to get His point across.

When I see the Law in the Old Testament, I am held in awe, as well. When I imagine living in Old Testament times, I guess that I’d try to follow every rule to a T and I’d probably pat myself on the back for getting it mostly right.

I think most people, when faced with a shiftless standard, either end up on the side of pride or the side of despair. They are either blind and filled with self-love because of their good work, or they are filled with self-loathing because they’ve never been able to get much of anything right. Both responses are antithetical to the Good News of Jesus.

The Good News of Jesus comes for both the ones who are drunk on their love for themselves and also those drowning in their own shame.

The Good News is sweet, that Someone who is purely holy stood to bridge the gap between lowly you—who can’t stand up to the Law—and the High King who calls you loved. He makes you new with His strength and His power, and you get to live forever with your loving Father.

This passage in Hebrews transposes the Law with the Gospel. Verses 18-21 speak to that trembling fear we see so often in the Old Testament. This is the God who demanded Abraham sacrifice Isaac, who turned Lot’s wife to salt, who conquered whole armies to make His name great.

Then verses 22-24 speak to the gracious love of God illustrated in the New Testament (love that truly was apparent all along, with God’s wooing of Israel, His pardoning of Isaac, and every rescue in the Old Testament).

Both of these are God. He demands awe and fear, but that awe and fear is also satisfied in Jesus. Our awe and appreciation is more for His great love and knowing that from which we’ve been pardoned. The Law allowed us to defeat ourselves, to break ourselves under the weight of the expectation, and to show us our sin.

Jesus graciously shows up where we fall short. He satisfies that chasm of shortcoming that we could never hope to leap. Our God is still the same God of the Old Testament, full of power and might. He has chosen to consume death through Jesus and there will be a day when He conquers it once and for all. He is a consuming fire.

16

 

  • Outsourced IT

    Beautiful work, lovely sweater and adorable model. I think this article increase my knowledge. it is nice to know this. Thanks for the time and effort. This is a very good article, I think there will be many people like it, of course, I was one of the people.

  • Stephanie

    “28 Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; 29 for our God is a consuming fire”. I want to scream these verses from the rooftops. Such an amazing truth and promise from God. It shatters all preconceived notions of Christianity.

  • Lot's wife was turned into a pillar of salt, not a pillar of stone. Genesis 19:26 :-)

  • Caroline Clark

    I am sitting in my dorm room smiling knowing that God has a lot he is about to show me in my next for years of college. Hebrews has been such a good thing for me to go to so that I can quiet my heart and focus on God in all of this new my freshman year

    • Ellen

      Caroline, this is so awesome and encouraging! I’m in my junior year and have learned so much from studying this book. I’ve been able to share a lot of it with a freshmen girl’s bible study I’m leading. You’re right – it is such a fantastic reminder to quiet our hearts, fuel our souls, and lean in on him while we fight the good fight.

  • Sunshine

    "I think most people, when faced with a shiftless standard, either end up on the side of pride or the side of despair."

    I don't think shiftless is the word you meant to use in this sentence. Pretty sure it doesn't mean what you thought it does.

  • LaurenC_

    “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29 for our “God is a consuming fire.” It’s so amazing and reassuring to know that nothing here on earth – nothing at all – can change God’s love, peace, mercy, power, and promises to us! Amen!

  • Ashley S.

    The study of Hebrews has been great to my soul! I’m glad that we serve a mighty God!

    • SheReadsTruth

      Me too, Ashley! I\’m so thankful He is such a good and mighty God! Thanks for joining us, we love having you!

      xoxo-Kaitlin for She Reads Truth

  • So thankful we serve a kingdom & God that cannot be shaken :)
    Happy Thursday, sisters!

  • "The Law allowed us to defeat ourselves, to break ourselves under the weight of the expectation, and to show us our sin."
    Thanks be to God for the glorious record of the Bible – OT and NT – and blessing me with deeper understanding… appreciation for all He has done & is doing. Day by day!

  • DVineSpeaks

    This whole study of Hebrews has me so grateful for God's love and Jesus willingness to be a living sacrifice for ME!!! In the midst of the all the turmoil in the world right now God is reminding us to stay in the race. Be encouraged when you are corrected, get back up when you're knocked down by life knowing that Jesus Christ is the Author (beginning creator) and Finisher (perfect Completion) of our Faith. Stay connected to God through His son Jesus He can and will help us stay in the race.

    Hugs, Prayers and Love
    My Sisters in Christ

  • “I think most people, when faced with a shiftless standard, either end up on the side of pride or the side of despair.”
    I love this! How true; how convicting! Am I still trying to pick a side? Or am I consumed by the one who conquers it all? Am I focusing on my shortcomings, or do I notice His completion where I fall short?
    Great truth to for me to take to heart – at the end of today, I pray I am satisfied in what The Lord has done through me (in spite of me!) and not focused on what has yet to be done!

  • Savannah Grace

    Good morning sisters! I have a quick prayer request. I am starting my second day of college, and I'm trying not to feel completely overwhelmed. I went from a high school with 140 people to a campus with 35,000, and it just doesn't seem real yet! Please pray that I will hold on to the sweet promises of God that He will hold my hand through it all as I try to adjust, and that He will never leave my side as I'm still trying to find exactly where all my classes are.

    I am so thankful to be a part of a community where I can ask for prayer. Thank you, sisters! I hope and pray that y'all have a great Thursday. :)

    • Candacejo

      Prayed for you, Savannah! Praying that God will protect you, give you comfort, confidence and strength to not only get through each day but to do so victoriously through Jesus Christ! I also pray He will send you a good Christian friend that will be a blessing to you. He will never leave nor forsake you, put your trust in Him! ♥

    • GracenJoy

      Praying for you today and knowing He will guide you through it all.

    • Michelle

      I was in your situation exactly when I went off to college. It will get easier because God has gone before you. He will supply what you need. I had a rough first week when I went to school feeling completely out of my element. I ended up going to Cru and randomly met up with a bunch of girls that did Young Life. It was totally a God thing. Those girls just enveloped me with God’s love that night, and brought me into their group of friends. He will provide for you too just keep your eyes on him. Praying for you!

    • Lauren

      The beginning of college is so scary, but God is with you. Saying a quick prayer that you feel at home there soon. By Thanksgiving you’ll feel fantastic!

    • DVineSpeaks

      Father God remember your child Savannah Grace on today as she takes a big step to higher education. Protect and keep her when she comes and goes through the campus and to her home. God we know that you promised never to leave us nor forsake us and today we touch and agree that you will do just that for Savannah Grace in your Son Jesus name Amen.

      God is Able to complete what He started. Be Blessed

    • Hayley

      You can do it! He is with you! I'm stopping to pray right now.

    • Nichole

      Just prayed for you! Stay strong, be yourself, and know He is with you! Have a wonderful day! <3

    • Gillian

      Prayers for peace!

    • shereadstruth

      Hi, sweet Savannah! Praying for you! College is an incredible, but sometimes scary time. God taught me so much about himself during those years and I pray that He would comfort you on your new campus and surround you with community! Love to you!

      xoxo-Kaitlin for She Reads Truth

    • Steph_Lilac

      Savannah, God is going to provide mightily for you. He will send you some great Spirit-filled friends who will make the journey that much sweeter. You'll be in my prayers Sis. With God (as you very well know) all things are possible!

    • Shelley Krupa

      Savannah, I will be praying for you! I know God is writing this next chapter of His story in your life and He has an amazing plan for you. Though it is a much larger world out there now, it is also a much larger mission field to let your light shine for Him. My specific prayer will be for you to find peace and confidence as you adjust to college life and that He will help you see mighty ways to glorify His name as you begin this new journey in life! Blessings to you, Savannah!!

    • Catherine Jackson

      This was only my second day of college too! I hope everything went well for you:) I am so thankful to have this community to lean on and amazing devotionals to feed my spiritual life during this transition. Good luck with school- I know exactly how you feel right now!

  • He is the same…yesterday, today and forever. How and why don't matter I'm just thankful God IS. An ALL consuming fire, He is bigger than our biggest problem, He is bigger than all the Israelites murmuring and complaining, He is bigger than David's enemies, HE is bigger than sin, death and the devil, and HE is big enough to save us and keep us once, for all and forever. thank you LORD!

  • I love when connections between the Old Testament and New Testament are made. Early in my faith journey, I avoided the Old Testament. I didn't like reading about all the rules. I'd read the New Testament and think, "well it's a good thing God changed what He was doing or no one would follow Him."

    But God didn't change. When I realized that His rescue plan for creation is woven in from the beginning, I stopped despising the Old Testament and started reading it more. Yes, there were a lot of rules to follow and moments where God showed His extreme wrath (well, His jealousy for His people when they turned to things besides Him), but there is a lot of love and compassion and forgiveness and grace.

    It is the same God. And He continues to be the same God. I'm so glad the Good News is for all of us and I pray specifically today for those who feel like the Good News isn't for them because they've messed up. We all mess up. The Good News is still Good News.

    • Gillian

      Amen! The Good News is still Good News!

    • shereadstruth

      I love it so much too, Melody! I initially had the same hesitancy toward the Old Testament but I am overwhelmed by the connections and would be missing out BIG TIME if I glossed it over. So thankful for God's consistency! Thanks for joining us!

      xoxo-Kaitlin for She Reads Truth

    • Catherine Jackson

      I had the same realization! I always knew God was unchanging, but the scripture and devotional today really revealed to me God’s true character. He is still the same God from the Old Testament, but we have Jesus. Because we all fall short of the laws that God provided, Jesus intervenes on our behalf so we can experience God’s love – not wrath. It is amazing how the Old and New testament connect sometimes! Thanks for your insight :)

  • simplygrace

    " Jesus graciously shows up where we fall short " …..WOW!

    THAT is the gospel. Thank you Jesus!

  • It can be very easy to be proud when you know uve done it right and also to be shelled up and disgusted when you haven't. But glory to the One above we can look to Him where there is grace and pardon, for being both proud and self-loathed. Lord may we always remember that your grace is bigger than all our mistakes and even when we get it right we should direct all praises to your name for it all belongs to You for of ourselves we are nothing. Thank You Lord that through Jesus Christ Your Son, I am free this morning and the gap between my shortcomings and You O Lord has been bridged.

  • A consuming fire! That's passion in physical form! Love so great it transforms and consumes, like a Phoenix rising from it, God renews me, rebuilds me and consumes me! The message reads verse 27 in this way, "One last shaking means a thorough housecleaning, getting rid of all the historical and religious junk so that the unshakable essentials stand clear and uncluttered." With Jesus, I will not be among the religious junk, I will be an undeserving essential! Wow! God's passion for us! ~ B

  • This was a much needed reminder to me to live with an eternal, not a temporary perspective. This world is going to be “shaken” someday and we will stand before Jesus with all that we did for his message. I want that to be a glory moment for Him! That changes my perspective on how I live today.

    • shereadstruth

      Amen, Abby! It challenges me to live differently with eternity in my mind and joy in my step! Thanks for joining us!

      xoxo-Kaitlin for She Reads Truth

  • Michelle

    Oh thank you Jesus.

    • Candacejo

      I am loving your blog. Why have I never read it before?? ;) Praying with you and for you today. God, give Michelle wisdom and strength. In Jesus' name. ♥

  • What a comfort to know that Jesus rose for all who would call on his name. I think we as Christians move between being prideful or self-loathing depending on our circumstances, but Jesus is there for us in every circumstance and that is truly AMAZING!!

  • joanne sher

    So incredibly powerful. The gap is bridged – the gap my ancestors tried desperately to bridge on their own power. But they could not. Thank You, Lord, for that bridge!

  • greenberrystreet

    And today's reading is the source for the song "A Might Fortress" by Christy Nockels:

    Our God is a consuming fire
    A burning Holy Flame with glory and freedom
    Our God is the only righteous judge
    Ruling over us with kindness and wisdom

    We will keep our eyes on You
    We will keep our eyes on You

    A mighty fortress is our God
    A sacred refuge is Your name
    Your kingdom is unshakable
    With You forever we will reign

    Our God is jealous for His own
    None could comprehend His love and His mercy
    Our God is exalted on His throne
    High above the heavens forever He's worthy

    We will keep our eyes on You
    We will keep our eyes on You

    A mighty fortress is our God
    A sacred refuge is Your name
    Your kingdom is unshakable
    With You forever we will reign

    Forever we will reign
    Forever we will reign
    Forever, forever we will reign

    We will keep our eyes on You
    We will keep our eyes on You
    So we can set our hearts on You
    Lord, we will set our hearts on You

  • "Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken"

    In this day and age that is such a blessing in and of itself, as kingdoms are shaken across the world. We come to such an outpouring of grace that delights to welcome us in. Ah, he's so good. The bit about "the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven" reminds me of when Jesus sends out 72 followers in Luke 10. They come back all excited about the power of God at work in them and he says: "I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven." (v19-20)

    Isn't it amazing that God has given us authority over the powers of darkness in the world? But we so easily forget how much more amazing it is that God has chosen to redeem us, write our names in heaven and treat us as friends.

    I'm just so overwhelmed with the goodness of God this week :-)

  • Candacejo

    Every day, without fail, in my blog stats I see someone, or several "someone's" have Googled a search with these words; "God might forgive me but how do I forgive myself…" Every. Single. Day. It breaks my heart!! So many are drowning in their own shame as Hayley has mentioned today. That awe AND fear are satisfied in Jesus! "Jesus graciously shows up where we fall short."

    I wish I could reach through the giant www and tell each one of them there is forgiveness. Complete forgiveness and a joy unspeakable that follows when you know HIM.

    In a world that is visibly shaken, I am thankful for a God who is forever the same. My hope here, and eternally, rests in Jesus Christ.

    Praying for my sisters today, God unite us together as one so that we may share YOU with our world. (Jet lag has come to haunt me…I feel like a baby who has their days and nights mixed up!)

    • Kimone

      Keep up the good work candacejo. Hope ull get some rest and have it all together once again. God bless u and ur ministry. Enjoy ur day.

    • shereadstruth

      Amen, sister! I am so thankful for the reminder that God is forever the same. Praying with you (because sometimes I just want to reach through the giant www too!! :) ) Love to you!

      xoxo-Kaitlin for She Reads Truth

  • german_janne

    Thx for highlighting those in-between verses about His love and forgiveness! After reading all those awe-inspiring words, I was about to forget them and feel small and futile … Yes, Jesus bridged the gap between my shortcomings and God´s perfection. This is why I can look up again. :)

    • Becca

      Yes! We are made clean and enrolled in heaven. God may be MASSIVE and awesome, but he's chosen to clean us up so we can do his work on earth. Wow!

  • I love the imagery of this: But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 23 to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel – I am filled with wonder and awe, but also JOY to be heading for this Heavenly Jerusalem. His blood speaks a better word … Amen to that! His blood speaks not of a condemnation to be stoned for being in the presence of God, but in fact an invitation to be in this place, a welcoming to our ever and true home. Praise God that He, the consuming fire, makes His place, His tabernacle, with us.

    • Sarah Martin

      That passage caught my attention as well, Amanda! Our God is BOTH holy (so holy that no one can stand in His presence) and so merciful that He gave us Jesus so that we can stand in His holiness and be in fellowship. In fellowship with The Almighty. Awesome!

Further Reading...