That's A Lot of Firewood

     There are many details of the Mosaic Law that are fascinating, and even mind-boggling, to think about. I am particularly impressed when I think about the sheer volume of supplies it took over the course of the centuries to keep the ritual aspects of that system going. One example that caught my eye recently is in Leviticus 6:13, regarding the flame that burned on the main altar of the tabernacle, and later the temple. God commanded, “Fire shall be kept burning on the altar continually; it shall not go out.” Here God commanded what, today, we would call an eternal flame.

     In western cultures, eternal flames are often utilized in memorials to symbolize our endless memory and appreciation. As a kid I remember the sense of awe I felt when I first learned about a fire that was never allowed to die out. Anymore, though, such a feat is relatively unimpressive. Technology has allowed us to simply hook up a gas line to source the fire continuously, thus making the need for maintenance almost non-existent.

     However, this was not the case with the altar flame in Leviticus 6. This fire had to be maintained around the clock, priests constantly adding firewood and cleaning out the ash bins. And what a task it must have been to keep it burning when Israel broke camp and set out through the wilderness wandering. Imagine the amount of firewood it would have taken to keep that fire going 24/7/365! Without fuel, it would have died. And if that fire had died, so would the means by which offering was made to YHWH God.

     Each of us has a fire burning within. Its intended purpose is to burn for the glory of our Creator. This flame represents the awe we have for Him, the desire to please Him, the drive to serve, and the willingness to obey. Like all fires, this inner flame must have fuel to burn hot and bright. Like the Levites, as priests of the Most High God (1 Peter 2:5,9) we must be diligent to keep it fueled at all times.

     Our fire for God is fueled by meditative study in the Word, communicating with our Lord in prayer, actively engaging in fellowship and worship with our Christian family, and investing our time and strength to do service for those in need. If these fuel sources become depleted, then our fire will begin to die down. Conversely, keep the firewood coming, and that fire will burn as long as there is breath in our lungs, and it will burn hot and bright for all to see.

     ´╗┐It is like Paul told Timothy, “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God” (2 Timothy 1:6). Now, let’s go get some firewood!