|God’s Word is Fire
Jeremiah said, “His Word was in my heart like a burning fire (Jeremiah 20:9).
God’s Word is a purifier and purger to cleanse and sanctify us. Like Jeremiah, I have had the fire of God’s Word burn out the dross in me and prepare me for His purposes. Several times in my walk with God I have felt the fire of God burn through me. Once early in my walk with God, when about to live a small church I was serving at, God arrested my attention with the fire of the Holy Spirit. I was at a campmeeting shortly after I had told the pastor that I was leaving and at the end of the campmeeting service the preacher said there is someone here who is about to leave a church and God says He’s not through with you there. Well, my first thought was, “whoever that is needs to get back to where they’re supposed to be.” But as the thought was streaming through my mind, the Holy Spirit opened me up and poured fire all through me and said, “I’m talking to you!” So I humbled myself and went back to the small church until God was finished with me there.
The backdrop of this verse of Scripture is Jeremiah’s struggle with rejection. His ministry had become quite unpopular as he was speaking the truth concerning Israel’s captivity while the other prophets in the land were preaching a much easier path. You can feel the emotional struggle in Jeremiah’s words as he cries out to the Lord:
Jeremiah 20:7: O Lord, You induced me, and I was persuaded; You are stronger than I, and have prevailed. I am in derision daily; everyone mocks me.
Jeremiah went on to make an emotional decision that his spirit would not allow him to keep. God had placed too much inside of him to allow outward circumstances to dictate the outcome. The foundation of God’s Word had been poured and some tribulation was not going to shake Jeremiah loose from the calling of God on his life.
Jeremiah 20:9: Then I said, “I will not make mention of Him, nor speak anymore in His name.” But His word was in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, and I could not.
God went on to say through Jeremiah: “Is not My Word like a fire, says the Lord?” in Jeremiah 23:29.
Have you ever decided to quit something because you weren’t seeing the results you wanted? People do it all the time with the physical aspect of their life. They try a diet and exercise program for a few weeks and ultimately quit because their transformation is not moving as fast as they would like. People quit churches because they didn’t get to do something that they wanted to do. If God has called you to do something, allow the fire of His Word to refine you and purge out the dross of selfish ambition and the desire for worldly attention.
Malachi 3:2-3 speaks of the presence of God being like a refiner’s fire:
“But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like launderers’ soap. He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer to the Lord an offering in righteousness.
The word “purify” in verse 3 in the Hebrew (taher, pronounced taw-hare) means the following:
Hebrews 12:29 also tells us, “Our God is a Consuming Fire.”