Faith, Fire and Fellowship – Fire
Fire: The Core of all Ministry unto God
Eli – A Minister of Apathy and Neglect
“And the boy Samuel was serving Jehovah before Eli. And the Word of Jehovah was rare in those days. There was no breaking-through vision. And it happened at that time, Eli was lying down in his place, and his eyes had begun to be dim; he was not able to see. And the lamp of God had not yet gone out…“
1 Samuel 3:1-3 (LITV)
The core of all ministry unto God in that day (and in ours) was founded upon THE FIRE of God being used in the offerings, the incense, the worship, and the illumination of the Holy Place. It was the same fire of God that had been captured at the inauguration of the tabernacle some 450 years prior, that had been compromised under Eli’s care. The apathy of the priesthood had permeated the whole nation of Israel. The traditions and rituals continued as if all was well but the presence of God was lacking and the living Word of Fire was rare. We read about the compromised ministry of Eli in Samuel’s day; Eli’s eyes waxed dim and he could no longer hear the Voice of God. Under his watch the “lamp of God” was about to go out!
Where there is no vision and purpose in the lives of God’s people, where there is apathy, we can rest assured that there has been a faithless priesthood at the core. Without a “breaking-through vision” gripping the people of God there will be a contentment with words and programs and a lack of His manifest presence in our times of fellowship. It is time for us to consider our ways!
Alexander MacLaren commenting on this day concerning Eli: “The voice of God had become a tradition of the past, not an experience of the present…”. The history of the people of God ever repeats itself and the apostle Paul warned the Christians at Corinth in light of this present truth:
“For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased…“
1 Corinthians 10:1-5
Why was Paul writing to the people of the New Covenant concerning this Old Testament Truth?
“Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.”
1 Corinthians 10:11
Let us shake off the slumber of a false gospel, the apathy of this day in which words and the doctrines of men replace the fire of God. The fear of God is relegated to legalism while a seeker-friendly environment dampens the zeal of the hearts of His people. The intensity and fire of fellowship is lost, replaced by the warmth of human relationships; where sin and iniquity are tolerated under the guise of God’s grace!
The Fire of God
is the Evidence of God’s Presence
The Fire of God can only be received and held in the hearts of those who attend to and keep its sacred flame alive. Its radiance requires our attention and obedience. It is a living faith, not based on words and doctrines, that burns by the oil of the Holy Spirit. This oil is precious and beyond our ability to manufacture. This faith is His gift to us, the vital conduit between the branch and the Vine. It is the oil in the lamp of our hearts, the breath of the Almighty inspiring and enabling us to remain pilgrims and sojourners in this dark and contrary world in which we find ourselves.
(See related post: The Wick for some insight into being a lamp of God in this present world).
Faith, Fire and Fellowship – Fellowship
(The next post to be continued in this three part series)
Posts in this series:
“Spirit filled souls are ablaze for God. They love with a love that glows. They serve with a faith that kindles. They serve with a devotion that consumes. They hate sin with fierceness that burns. They rejoice with a joy that radiates. Love is perfected in the fire of God”
– Samuel Chadwick