Local grass seed farms burn the fields to restore minerals and health to the land. The fire burns up any impurities that are buried within the top layers of the soil and “sterilize” the land so that no hidden disease or fungus will damage or destroy the future harvest.
God is symbolized as fire in numerous instances in the Bible: The altar fire that consumes the offerings for sin and atonement, the pillar of fire leading the people of Israel in the exodus to the Promised Land, the fire of wrath and destruction to the enemies of God’s people. When we willingly submit ourselves to His care and supervision, we will undoubtedly go through seasons that appear from the outside to be destructive, but are really beneficial and life-giving in the long run. Psalm 119:156
Lord, how great is your mercy; let me be revived by following your regulations.
Controlled burning or wild fires can stimulate the germination of some desirable forest trees, thus renewing the forest. Some cones, such as those of Lodgepole Pine and Sequoia, are serotinous, meaning they require heat from fire to open cones to disperse seeds. (Wikipaedia)
As humans, especially as women, we tend to hold on to things quite tight-fistedly. Many find difficulty relinquishing control-of our homes, our children, our rights, our dreams-to a God who promises to never leave us and to always have our best interest at heart. Sometimes our grip is so tight in an area of our lives that God has to actually allow us to be put “in the hot seat” to force us to open our hands and let go of what we were so desperately clinging to. In our everyday lives, this may look like fearful, scary situation—Doctor’s reports, financial issues, relationship difficulties or failures, legal or social consequences for our actions. The results of this releasing are twofold: It gives us the opportunity to grab hold of the next task or blessing that the Lord has in store for us, and what we release to God can be 1) consumed if it’s unhealthy or: 2) reproduce exponentially in faith and blessing in our lives, our community or even complete strangers. Isaiah 43:2 When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.
One of the most effective tools of fighting wildfires in the forest and range lands is the concept of back burning. In essence, crews are put in front of an oncoming forest fire and go to work using small, closely managed fires to burn up the grasslands, trees and shrubs. By doing this, the fire crews are eliminating the fuel in front of the blaze that keeps the fire uncontrolled and constantly in motion. When there are no trees or grass for a fire to consume, it dies. If the fire line is too small, or the wind is too strong, the fire can jump the “fire line” and continue to blaze unchecked, putting property and lives in peril.
Through the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus gives us powerful and effective tools to restrain ourselves from dangerous, harmful or sinful situation. Firstly, He gives us the Holy Spirit as a comforter and guide, speaking to us and directing our paths away from danger. One example of this is during the early years of my second marriage, when my husband was asked to quit his computer support job working for a large city in Washington state because his pornography addiction followed him to work. As we worked through this situation, God gave me words of reassurance to speak to my husband-certainly not what I wanted to say! The Lord wisely reminded both of us that when a sin is uncovered and fully exposed to the light, it can no longer be used as a weapon against us. Part of supporting and restoring my husband was having an opportunity to ask him how he was dealing with his struggle, and asking him how I could, as his wife, support and pray for him. Partnering with him in his “recovery” from this addiction was the love coupled with accountability. Secondly, we are told to ask for wisdom, and that God will provide it for us when we ask (James 1:5) We should also be asking for discernment, or the ability to hear and understand what God is speaking to us about situations, circumstances and people. This allows us to make decisions in our life that keep us healthy, safe and following the commands that God has laid out before us. Thirdly, God can and will use situations or circumstances to move us on or keep us still—keeping us in a spiritual “ring of fire” to protect us from an enemy or situation that will bring harm or destruction to us, or a ring of fire to keep us from going out and engaging in activities that would damage or harm us. God quite literally led the Israelites through the desert by appearing as a pillar of fire at night. Sometimes we may never know that a delay on the freeway prevented us from being in an accident, or when that still, small voice inside of us tells us not to respond to the taunts and threats of a mean-spirited co-worker.
James 3:5-6 In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.
The process of refining gold, oil, and other valuable commodities is a process called refining. It involves taking the raw product, combining it with heat and sometimes other chemicals or elements, and removing the impurities, so that the product becomes pure. It is a multi-step process, and it takes repeating the task over and over again, until all of the impurities are removed. This leaves us with the purest product possible.
God often takes us through familiar situations and scenarios to refine us. He realizes the human condition; that when we are under heat or pressure, whatever is within us comes out. The “trial by fire” is designed to draw impurities out of us; bad habits we need to replace, fears, anger, complacency. While this can feel like punishment, it is not. It can be painful, but it is necessary-like any medical treatment that causes temporary pain for long-term gain.
Zechariah 13:9 I will bring that group through the fire and make them pure. I will refine them like silver and purify them like gold. They will call on my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘These are my people,’ and they will say, ‘TheLord is our God.’
, 1 Peter 1:7
These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.
There are fires that burn out of control, destroying and consuming every living thing in front of them. We see this often in the news, especially during fire season, where hundreds of homes are simply wiped off the face of the earth. Despite the efforts of trained professionals, life is destroyed.
God promises a day when the same will happen to this earth. Everything we know and understand will be destroyed by fire. When that moment comes, will you be protected by the flames or consumed? The fires of destruction were where three Hebrew youths were placed, but God protected them. The only promise of passing through the flames, is to be protected by he who created the flames.
2 Peter 3:10
But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment.