Laying down the Law

We are all taught as children that fire is dangerous.  It can cause much damage, destroy property, put lives at risk.  Anyone who has ever suffered even a small burn knows how painful it is, never mind the sights when bush fires ravish land so quickly.

Yet fire also has more positive uses:

Fire gets rid of rubbish

Fire sterilizes

It gives heat

It provides light

Fire changes things.  It causes a chemical reaction.

God invites Moses to come and meet with him, and to the Israelites the glory of God on the mountain looks like an all-consuming fire.  Moses goes into the presence of God, and he will be changed.

Of course this is not Moses first encounter with God and fire.  God had met him before in The Burning Bush.  God is running on a theme.

This time, Moses goes up to meet God to be given the tablets of stone that will have the law and commandments God has given for the people’s’ instruction.  These are not God’s whims, but the understanding of the one who made the world, of how it would best function.

They are there to change the nation:

  • To get rid of rubbish, if followed, only good will be left.  There is nothing like a bonfire to get rid of garden waste; setting fire is one secure way to get rid of any confidential papers, there is nothing left but ash.
  • To sterilise.  I remember needles being passed through flames to make them sterile for poking out splinters or the like (never to be advised!)  The heat removed the germs that couldn’t even be seen.
  • To give heat – who can resist a roaring fire?  And with the right chimney it warms the whole building.
  • To give light.  A fire will give light in a dark space, and as beacons have been used over the centuries to communicate.

God’s laws will do all of these in the world.  If followed there need be nothing that is wrong left, and strength will be renewed, and the whole world will have what it needs to get on.

Going into the fire to meet with God – it’s dangerous and life-enhancing.  Will we take the risk?  Will we let him get rid of the things that need to go, clean our lives from the bad things we may not even be able to see, warm us and give us light?

God invites us to come, to hear his words, to be changed.


as we gaze on the fire

and think of the flame,

we remember your calling

to us to come

to hear

and to receive.

May we let you change us

and transform us

as fire transforms.

May we know purification

and warmth

from you.

~ by pamjw on March 2, 2011.

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