Daily Radio Bible Podcast
Leviticus 10-12 and Acts 16. We are reading through the NLT.
Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, priests to the Lord, conjure up some strange fire. They put some coals of fire on their incense burners and sprinkle the incense over them. In this way, they are making some strange fire.This is not the prescribed way. This was their way. They were trying to conjure up something new, perhaps. Perhaps they were trying to manipulate or control this fire, to grant them fortune or power or honor. It was about control. And this strange fire ended up consuming them. We’re told that they were judged because of it. They were consumed by fire. Fire blazed forth from the Lord’s presence and burned them up. They died before the Lord.
We all struggle with the desire to manipulate and control, to offer our own strange fire, as it were. Tragically It consumes us, too. But there is a kind of fire that doesn’t consume, kill and represent death. That’s the fire that we see in the Holy Spirit. This is a fire that comes to dwell in us and makes us holy.
In Acts 2 we see the Holy Spirit descend in tongues of fire. This is a Fire that is bestowed upon us, and recieved, not manipulated. It’s given to us, not through our own efforts, or designs. Instead, it descends upon us. It’s a gift. How do we become carriers of this fire of Life? Paul and Silas tell the Philippian jailer how. The jailer asks them what he has to do to be saved. Paul says, believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household.
It seems like all of us, in some way, want to work with strange fire and gain control on our own. It’s no different now than it was in the book of Acts. The slave owners in Acts 16 have a girl that tells fortunes. This is strange fire. The political leaders in town who wanted to pacify the mob, were playing with strange fire. The jailer who drew his sword to kill himself for fear of his own execution, this too is strange fire. Strange fire is all about wanting to control and manipulate, to ensure our future and get what we want. Whether it’s fortune, power or honor, we all want to make strange fire to get these things. Our strategies appear to work for awhile but in the end, like Nadab and Abihu, it doubles back and ends up consuming us in the end.
There are two kinds of fire. One is strange and will ultimately consume us. It is fueled by the desire to control and manipulate, to get fortune and power and honor, apart from God. The other kind is the fire of God’s presence that’s received as a gift. What do we do for that? We believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and we will be saved. We say yes to him, to his life, to his fire, we give up control, and our need to coerce. This is a life giving Fire, that dwells in us. It does not consume and kill us. Instead, it purifies us and births within us, Life. It creates within us something new, and offers us true riches, true power, and true honor. And all these things are a gift. It is the Holy Fire of God in us.
Today, you can live and walk in the reality of the Fire that comes down from Heaven. It is your Life, the Holy Spirit – Christ in you. This gift has been bestowed upon you. Live in this fire today, not trying to control and conjure up your own, but resting and receiving the fire of Christ’s life and Spirit, living, dwelling, and thriving, in you.