Thursday, September 10, 2009

Who is the God of fire?

God uses signs and wonders and the manifestation of the supernatural realm to reveal Himself and His nature.

Many people do not understand the need nor the importance of the manifestation of the supernatural realm. Since the logic of man could not easily explain the supernatural or the manifestations of signs and wonders, it would be far easier to shove them aside or to discredit them.

Let me relate two examples of the manner God uses signs, wonders and miracles to reveal His nature.
(1) When miracles of “gold teeth” happened in France many years ago, a minister shared what was happening to an old Jewish lady. When she heard the account of how God would fill the mouths of the believers with “gold teeth”, tears began flowing down her cheeks. She said that when the Jews were tortured by the Germans in the past, they would be pulling out and removing the teeth of the Jews. This miracle of “gold teeth” is a sign that God knew what happened then and it was a sign of His restoration and His love.

(2) In the great revival of Argentina, there were abundant miracles of God filling the mouths of His people with teeth to the extent that there will be live telecast of preacher praying for a particular person and upon declaring the Name of Jesus, right before the video’s lenses, teeth would appear in the mouth of the person prayed for. There were accounts where the teeth would sometimes take the forms of a dove or a cross and when tested in laboratories, at times they could not determine what were these teeth made of and could only conclude that they must be heavenly substance. One may ask why did God do such denture miracles (or could even argue that there’s no biblical basis for God to perform such denture miracles)? He was actually revealing His love and care for the Argentines where most of them were poor and couldn’t afford dental care.

So, we can see from the above examples God shows His nature and attribute by manifestation of the supernatural, in miracles, signs and wonders.

Who is this God of Fire?
We have experienced the effects and manifestations of the fire of God in meetings where the fire anointing is strong. And the fire of God can bring deliverance, healing and accomplish numerous wonderful fruits in our lives if we open our hearts to embrace it.

At the same time, have we ever wondered who this God of Fire is? It is not enough for us to experience the fire of God. If our hearts are hungry for a closer walk with Him, we cannot be just satisfied with what God has done (not denying the fact that His works are to be greatly praised and treasured). We must press in to know the Person behind the works. We want to know Him. We desire to know this God of Fire in a more intimate way.

Abraham (Abram) had an encounter with the God of fire and may God also reveal Himself to us as we look at the account of this encounter in Genesis 15.

Background - The Promised Land
Genesis 15:7
7 Then He said to him, “I am the LORD, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to inherit it.”

Besides promising a son to Abram, Jehovah God also promised the patriarch a land as an inheritance. (A piece of land that remains so controversial to this day). We do not always remember this promise God gave to Abram but it was an important promise. It was initiated by God. Abram did not ask for a piece of land. He has obeyed the leading of God to leave his homeland and to go wherever God has directed him and here God confirmed His leading of Abram out of his own country to give him a land as an inheritance.

Our God has also given many promises to His children. Many personal prophecies, prophetic promises and rhema word of God have been released from the throne room of God. Some of us were given promises of conquering certain lands or countries as spiritual inheritance. More often than not, these promises were released at the initiative of God when we first obeyed His leading.

Abram’s Response - The Legitimate “How” and the “When” Questions
Genesis 15:8
8 And he said, “Lord GOD, how shall I know that I will inherit it?”

We can learn from Abraham in the way he responded to the Almighty God after receiving God’s promise. No, he did not immediately try to make things happen by trying to “help God” fulfill the word (like most of us are tempted to do most of the time).

Wisely, he asked how could he be sure of what he has just heard (paraphrased). God did not rebuke him for being doubtful or not having sufficient faith. It was a legitimate question. Many times, we asked God “When, Lord?” quietly within our hearts, fearing that people would think we did not have the faith to believe. Out of frustrations and impatience, our natural inclination is to ask God when will His Word come to pass in our lives. God looks at our hearts and He answers beyond the questions we asked.

God’s Reply
Genesis 15:9-11
9 So He said to him, “Bring Me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” 10 Then he brought all these to Him and cut them in two, down the middle, and placed each piece opposite the other; but he did not cut the birds in two. 11 And when the vultures came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away.

Here, instead of giving Abram an answer that most of us would expect or prefer, God began to give instructions to Abram to enable Him to orchestrate a supernatural encounter that will reveal His nature to Him. God, looking into the heart of Abram, knew the perfect answer to Abram’s question where words would not suffice. This is why understanding the language God speaks is so important. The language of the spirit realm is beyond words.

Firstly, God asked Abram to bring five types of animals to Him. The number “five” speaks of the grace of God. In other words, God’s commandment and His instructions are not burdensome. He has first provided for what He would be asking. We can only give to Him what He has first provided to us or what He has first accomplished in us. Isn’t He wonderful? God’s grace is sufficient for us in all circumstances that He has led us to. Amen.

Secondly, these animals that were cut in two also speak of sacrifice and yielding to God. Often times, God’s requirement of us is only to yield ourselves fully to Him and surrender our all to Him. It was demonstrated in the life of Jesus (Philippians 2:5-11). This also involves the sacrificing of the “smaller animals” in our lives right up to the “bigger animals”. He may first ask for our time, our energy or our money. For certain people, He may ask us to let go of certain mindsets, certain way of thinking which we have been accustomed to. Certain likes and dislikes. The big “I” in our lives has to go. More of Him and less of Me.

The Wait
Genesis 15:12
12 Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, horror and great darkness fell upon him.

We do not know how long did Abram wait but wait he did until the sun went down. Waiting is not a welcomed vocabulary amongst Christians today. The worldly culture and environment have caused us to have a distorted view about God’s timing. We want everything to be instant but time is not a concern in the spirit realm.

The Revelation
Genesis 15:17-20
17 And it came to pass, when the sun went down and it was dark, that behold, there appeared a smoking oven and a burning torch that passed between those pieces. 18 On the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying:
“To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates— 19 the Kenites, the Kenezzites, the Kadmonites, 20 the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, 21 the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.”

It is imperative that we understand the background and the backdrop of this supernatural encounter to fully appreciate the revelation of God to Abram. As a start, we know that Abram was a Chaldean for seventy-five years prior to the time he entered the land of Canaan. The covenants of Abram's day, in that part of the civilized world (including Chaldea) were made by dividing an animal into two pieces and then the two parties making the covenant walked between the divided portions of the animal. In this way, each party to the covenant was saying to the other, "If you breach the contract (in today’s language), may this very thing happen to you", i.e. it would cost the failing party blood; the failing party would be cut in two just like the animals were.

Following the Chaldeans' practice, Abram cut the three animals in two and stood the two halves against the walls of a trench he had earlier dug. He did not cut the birds in two. The animals' blood flowing down the trench formed a blood-path the two parties would walk down to confirm the covenant.

Amazingly, the God of fire as signified by the fire pot and flaming torch, chose to be the parties responsible in the covenant. If Abram had to walk down the blood-path, it would have cost his descendants blood if they violated the covenant. But with God being both parties, it would cost His Son's blood (i.e., life) if Abram's descendants failed to keep the covenant. Thus God passed through the divided sacrifice by Himself and, in this way, it became a unilateral covenant so that the fulfilling of the promise made to Abram to inhabit the land was not made dependent on Abram fulfilling his responsibility to the covenant.

Oh, what a wonderful prophetic revelation! We asked, who is this God of fire? The God of fire is the covenant-keeping God. He is the King of Love. It was a revelation of the coming of Yeshua Hamashiach and His sacrificial death on the cross. The greatest sign and wonder He ever did was His death on the cross and His resurrection three days thereafter. And therein lies the power of God – the cross! The hope of mankind, lost in slavery of sin and death. Hallelujah! When we catch a glimpse of this revelation, we would echo the words, “Is there anything too hard for Him?” He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? (Romans 8:32). This is the guarantee of all the promises He has made to us. May God burn this revelation of Himself and His love deep into our hearts so that our hearts will never be moved come what may as we walk with Him and serve Him with all our hearts. Amen.

Note: The above is an expanded version of a message shared in a meeting on 6th September 2009.

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