For the past few weeks, my youth group, the RIOT (Revival in Our Times), has been doing an awesome series on the names of God! It is such a blessing to learn about God, and all the names He calls Himself. One in particular stuck with me, and that was Esh Oklah. This name means literally "consuming fire" in Hebrew.
What a strange thing that God would call himself Consuming Fire!
Take heed unto yourselves, lest ye forget the covenant of the LORD your God, which he made with you, and make you a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, which the LORD thy God hath forbidden thee.
For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.
God is a consuming fire, because once he begins to work in us, He will continue to burn away anything that does not belong. Notice that fire always burns what is flammable. Consuming fire only destroys what is evil, never what is good. In it's own way, all the good things in our life, God will leave, but once he begins to purify us, all the evil and vain things must burn up. Something as "flammable" as vanity, or idols cannot exist in our lives at the same time that Consuming Fire is working in us.
Think of Lot, in Sodom and Gomorrah. God consumed, in fire (Literally!), those two cities, but spared Lot and his family. They were the only "good" in those two cities. God will never destroy what is good.
Remember that Consuming Fire does not stop burning, until all that can be burned away is gone. He keeps taking, and doesn't stop. I think of Abraham's great example. God first told him to go to a far away land. Abraham obeyed and gave God control of his future. Then God asked Abraham to trust him with His promise of a son. Abraham trusted God, and gave him his trust. Then God asked Abraham for his son! Abraham obeyed, and gave God his own son. See the pattern? As Abraham continued to yield God his life, God took more, and more, each time increasing with significance. However, Abraham's could of said "no" at any time. Consuming Fire only burns away what we allow Him too. God will not forcefully come in your life, and make you trust him, or make you obey him, or make you love Him. It is all up to you.
Esh Oklah has the potential to make a dirty, impure piece of gold, into a beautiful vessel of gold, ready to be used for His honor! I guess we could say that in the furnace of God's fire, we control the temperature and amount of time we spend being purified. It hurts! But it is good pain. :)
I would love to hear your thoughts!