Flying ice ore Hurtling through space Slams into atmosphere And explodes for miles long And the swirling swift clouds beneath Flow along the currents of air Undeterred by the fire That streaked by overhead.
I yield the javelin, buckler, and spear To hands whose stronger grip Can relax my fists, my fingers clenching And my vain vengeance strip. Let blessing then be my javelins hurled: May kindness, goodwill, my banner unfurled.
Let the fire I call down upon their heads Be the flames of mercy; Let the wrath I deserve to feel, instead, Fuel waiting patiently. May my forested eyes be burned to ash That I may see no foe, but brother, pass.
For our God is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29 HCSB).
Clouds and thick darkness surround Him;
righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne.
Fire goes up before Him and burns up His foes on every side.
He protects the lives of His godly ones;
He rescues them from the hand of the wicked.
Light dawns for the righteous,
gladness for the upright in heart.
Be glad in the LORD, you righteous ones,
and praise His holy name. (Psalm 97:3, 10b-12 HCSB)
The declaration of the LORD: “I will be a wall of fire around [Jerusalem], and I will be the glory within it” (Zechariah 2:5 HCSB).
The Bible is full of interesting–and often difficult–tensions. Many of these tensions deal with the character of God Himself, which makes the difficulties that much more difficult. But these tensions are necessary and foundational to life and worship.
The tension in the texts above is between the realities that God is both ours AND a consuming fire.