Sunday, January 11, 2015

Strange Fire

God, if there is such a Being (and I believe and know there is) must have His standards. We see His laws in creation so there will be laws to govern the life and relationships of Humankind. But how can an individual know them unless the Lord has revealed His requirements? Christians believe God has done this through certain people such as Moses, David and ultimately through Jesus. Their writings and statements have been preserved for our happiness and wellbeing in the Bible.
That means it is our responsibility to know and understand the Lord God’s laws for us. It means that those called to be preachers and teachers of the Bible must share God’s word and not their prejudices. To do so can lead to serious condemnation. This is borne out in many a dramatic and frightening way in both sections of the Bible.

Consider the incident in Numbers 16 and the attitude of Korah, Dathan and Abiram. They were in the privileged tribe of Levi. As such they had the care of the Tabernacle. But they wanted to be involved in the role set exclusively for Aaron and his descendants. The record tells us that the role of the priest involved animal sacrifices by fire. There was also a special incense set in motion byfire. Korah and company wanted to make a point that they were as good as any child of Aaron and could offer fire for the sacrifices and incense. Read the account and realise that God doesn’t tolerate for long those who think they know better than His laws. They experienced His severe judgement because they sought to offer ‘unlawful, thereby strange, fire.’ Jude 11 defined this as a rebellion.

Sad to say many within Christendom are following in Korah’s attitude of heart and mind. They seek to offer to God what He has either not ordained, or what He has forbidden. Then such people wonder why the Lord’s glory is not felt. They also are confused as to why there is no spiritual and moral stamina within the Church scene. The facts are simple. They are offering to the Holy and unchanging God ‘strange fire’ which He rejects.

What are such flames which arouse the indignation of God? What attitude of heart and mind underlies their actions which stores up wrath for them in future judgement. Let us consider just a sample. The Bible is explicit when it defines by word and symbol the meaning of Marriage. It is God ordained. It is between a man (Adam) and a woman (Eve). It portrays the future marriage of Christ and His Church. Many in Christendom are falling in line with the unbeliever’s World’s view that marriage can be entered into by same sex couples. That is trying to offer God ‘fire’ which His Word condemns.

Consider the ever increasing role of abortion in society. It is used for killing the unwanted, those with presumed abnormalities or for economic reasons etc. This is the modern day equivalent to the pagan worship of Molech. His devotees would sacrifice their firstborn children in the hope of better things to come. It destroyed the dignity of each individual and makes the abortionist and their followers ‘god’ over the unborn and his/her future worthwhileness. The God revealed in the Bible holds each as precious, loves them and Jesus Christ died on the cross because He loved them and rose again for them. Those aborted children will meet their saviour and friend in glory. It is highly unlikely their killers will unless they repent and cry out for mercy.

Finally, let us mention briefly the ‘strange fire’ many want to offer on an inter-faith level. Such proponents imagine all religions are the same. This is contrary to what God’s word says. Jesus is unique. Jesus is the crucified, risen ascended Son of God who is waiting the right time to return. (That time is set but not detailed in Scripture). There is no other Name to believe in for salvation and entrance into God the Father’s presence. How sad it is to see various Denominational leaders and members entering into unholy and unauthorised worship times with those who reject Jesus Christ as the Son of God and Saviour of the world. The effect upon people seeking and supporting Christ and His Church is devastating. One research shows that in Denmark alone last year ten percent of the remaining 2,000 churches closed their doors. You cannot offer God ‘strange and unauthorised fire’ and expect to be blessed or for people to take up their cross and follow Jesus.

We need to take seriously the warnings of Scripture about taking God and His word lightly. When we do we are in danger of offering Him in worship, ministry and relationships ‘Strange Fire’.  Why does He express anger at this? Because it profanes His Name. His laws are treated with contempt. His worship is taken for granted at best and dismissed as irrelevant at worst. Over and over again this phrase is repeated in Scripture: ‘you shall not profane (pollute) my holy Name’. Take heed!

©Ray Hawkins.



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