Dan Thomas, Director at Timberline Lodge (a gap year Bible school in Winter Park, CO), shares how God is a consuming fire and how Jesus stands in between as our mediator who invites us into a relationship with a Holy God.
- In the video, Dan uses the illustration of “back-burning” the forest fire to save the town of Grand Lake. What did that picture illustrate relating to Jesus, God the Father, and humanity? What happens if a Christian forgets the “back-burning” type of role that Jesus has played in his or her life? What causes you to treat God more like a consuming fire to be feared rather than a God who has invited you into a new family and a new relationship with Him built of faith? What is important to remember in these moments?
- In the Leviticus passage where Nadab and Abihu are consumed by the fire of God for offering strange incense, Moses instructs the people saying, “By those who come near Me I will be treated as Holy.” This seems to be contrasted in the New Testament when Hebrews 4:16 says, “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Why does coming near to God in the Old Testament come with such a clear warning while in the New Testament it comes as an invitation? If God does not change and is still as powerful as ever, how do we both relate to His invitation for confidence when approaching Him and yet still treat Him as a holy God? Are there areas of life where you need to confess that you have not treated Him with the respect He deserves? Are there times in life when you have not received His free gift of a forgiving and loving relationship? Take some time to confess these and ask for help to live rightly in light of who He is and what He has done.
- Hebrews 12 talks about a kingdom that is unshakable and another kingdom that will not only be shaken but will also be removed; try to define what these two kingdoms represent. (Read Hebrews 12:25-29 for direction.) List some of the things that would fall under the shakable kingdom that will be removed and make another list of what would fall under the unshakable kingdom. What would it look like to invest your life in the kingdom that is shakable? What would it look like practically to invest your life in the kingdom that is unshakable?
- Read Acts 2:1-4: When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.
Historically when paintings were made of this scene, they were often done with little flickering flames over the disciples’ heads and portrayed as a very peaceful scene, what in this passage might lead you to believe that God’s presence here was more like a consuming fire in their midst? How would this reality (that the God who is a consuming fire lives in you) change your perspective on living out of what God has asked you to do in life? What are we saying about God’s powerful presence in us when we shrink away in fear from obeying Him? When we habitually play around with the sin He hates? When we refuse to love those around us the way He did through the life of Jesus?