Christian Living

Spiritual Life

An All-Consuming Fire

Author Biography

    In addition to being an award-winning Christian novelist, Dina Sleiman takes great pleasure in serving the least of these through her work at Operation Blessing. This wife, mother of three, and grandmother of two loves travel, nature, dance, and—of course—writing.

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Dina Sleiman - Manager of Marketing Content for Operation Blessing

But the king replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on buying it, for I will not present burnt offerings to the Lord my God that have cost me nothing.” So David paid him fifty pieces of silver for the threshing floor and the oxen. (2 Samuel 24:24 NLT)

Have you ever just sat and stared into an open fire? I’m mesmerized by the way the tongues of flame undulate and flow, shifting through shades of red, orange, gold, and even blue.

I especially enjoy a fire outdoors on a crisp fall night. Roasting marshmallows and hot dogs, chatting with friends. As the evening wears on, those logs become consumed with the fire, seeming to light from within, taking on a molten glow, looking almost like lava, and eventually being completely consumed by the flames.

Our God is an all-consuming fire! Isn’t that amazing to consider: a consuming fire, a refiner’s fire, a fire at the sacrificial altar, a fire in the wilderness leading the Israelites, flames upon the heads of the faithful at the infilling of the Holy Spirit. These fires seem to represent the power and holiness of God, and they reveal His glory in a unique way. 

The story of David in today’s Bible reading in 2 Samuel is also unique. It’s an odd story of David offending God’s holiness by taking a census, a seemingly reasonable-enough action, yet one he also seemed to know was outside of God’s will. Perhaps there’s a lesson for us in that. As this is the Old Testament, calamity follows, and David seeks to repent and appease God with a sacrifice. He’s offered the space and resources for the sacrifice for free, but he’s not okay with that plan.

David says, “No, I insist on buying it, for I will not present burnt offerings to the Lord my God that have cost me nothing.” I believe that verse has a powerful takeaway for us today. We shouldn’t just sacrifice to God in areas of our life that are easy. Of course, salvation was a gift given freely at the cross to New Testament believers, but as we grow in relationship and intimacy with God, He calls us to increased holiness. He burns away those areas that will hold us back from knowing Him more and advancing His kingdom here on earth.

Now here’s the really fascinating part of the story, which brings up yet another interesting point. We actually see this story again in 1 Chronicles 21. In the Chronicles version when David sets up his altar and sacrifice, he does not light the flame. God miraculously sends the flame and consumes the sacrifice Himself!

I love that. It’s confirmation that we don’t need to do things in our own strength. That we can rely on God, through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, to make those changes in our lives. We just need to be willing to let Him in—and allow Him to do the work!

God, I pray that we would know You in all Your glory. That we would be open to the move of the Holy Spirit and Your refining fire in our lives. Let us embrace You in Your full power and holiness, and grow more and more like You as we gaze into Your marvelous face without fear.


Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved

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