“Our God is a consuming fire”
Hebrews 12: 29

Reading: Exodus 24: 17; Psalm 97: 3

Because of our Western worldview, we tend to allegorise statement that the Bible means as actual. The whole issue of God being a consuming fire, is one of those cases. Oh, He’s like a fire, we say. Oh, His judgments hurt us like a fire would. No, our God is a consuming fire. This is where we need to start in order to understand the baptism of fire. 

One of our Readings for today tells about how the people who had escaped from Egypt experienced a theophany, an appearance of God, at Mt Sinai – and how they had seen an incredible fire. I have actually encountered God as fire twice in my life so far. The first time was when I was baptised in the Holy Spirit – suddenly an enormous red fire sprung up in front of me. I was terrified and supposed myself to have fallen into the hands of Hellish Satanist, for I associated fire with hell. Knowing my thoughts, God spoke to me and said “I am who I AM, not who you think I AM.” To say I was shocked to encounter God in this way is an understatement. 

The second time was when I received a strong word of rebuke for my husband, John (who was not my husband at that time, and barely an acquaintance). On that occasion God appeared to me again as a mountain of deep red tongues of fire and I was terrified. 

A Nigerian Archbishop, Dr Obembe, puts it this way: “One of God’s attributes that buttress His Omnipotence is that He is a consuming fire. Jehovah God is the Lord, strong and mighty. He is potent in magniture and action. One songwriter in Nigerian Yoruba language calls God “ALAGBADA INA” – “the One Who is clothed WITH FIRE”. He wears fire as a garment. God is not a weakling. He is a potent fire force. When God goes out, one of the elements accompanying His protocols is combustive Holy Ghost fire. As it says in Psalm 97: 3 ‘A fire goes before Him and burns up all His enemies around about.’” 

I appreciate that this might be a bit mind-blowing for you. God is a Person, sure, but He is the Divine and Almighty Person who can actually surround Himself with fire. 

This is the very fire that Moses saw in the burning bush. It’s the fire that we get baptised with in what we call ‘the baptism of fire’. 


Oh my God, I know so little about You. Teach me about Yourself. 

For the family

Watch this video about Moses at the burning bush together.  Then exlain the study in an age-appropriate way.